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Mangala-Kalasa: by Rasiklal Parikh 
Tlic auspicious VVater-])ot with petals of lotuses : 

Held in hand by a typical Gujarati lady in holy reverence. 


I From £arly times to Pre-British period] 

With « Map. 89 Art -plates in Monocrome and 4 In Colour 


N a ray ana Mahadeva Paramananda Prizeman 1941, 
Springer Research Scholar 1947-49, 
and Thakkar Vasanji Lecturer 1952, University of Bombay : 
General Editor, Historical & Cultural Chronology of GujaraL 
M, S. University of Baroda, 

Foreword by 

Emeritus Professor of Sociology 
University of Bombay 



IVI. R* IVILsijiiiudar 

Pirst Pijl3li$l]ie<!l 

Saka 1S87 

Text Pages xxxvi H- 372 printed t>y 
V. P. Bliagwat 
Nlouj Printing Pureau 
ICliatau Wadi^ Ponril>ay A 

Art-plates printed by 
Pacliubliai Rav'at 

iCumar Printery,. Raipur, Afimedabad 1 

Ptiblisbed by 
O. R. Pbatkal 
Popular Praleasban 
3S— C Tardeo Road 
Pombay 34 WB 

RcsjpcctftM.Uy Dedicated 

Slixri JBalvantiray Afehta 
Chief minister, Gujarat State 


Him keen interest in and love for 
A.rcHaeology.f History and Cmmltwire 


Cultural History of Gujarat presents a connected account of many 
traits of the regional culture, which may be shortly styled ‘Gujarat! 
culture’, as they have been over a period of about eighteen hundred years. 
It is both a timely and a significant work. 

The Constitution of India in Article 351 declares the culture of India 
to be ‘composite’. It enjoins the Union Government to develop Hindi, the 
official language of the Union, in such a manner as to make it an efficient 
medium for ‘all the elements of the composite culture’. 

The different ‘elements’ or the components that make up this ‘com- 
posite culture’ are neither enumerated nor even mentioned. Minorities, 
however, are specified. They are either religious or linguistic, and may 
also be ‘cultural’. 

Article 29 states: ‘Any section of the citizens residing in the territory 
of India or an/ part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture 
of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.’ One has to take 
it that the ‘elements’ of the ‘composite culture’ of Article 351 and ‘distinct 
culture’ of Article 29 connote the same thing, though use of the adjective 
‘distinct’ in the latter place may, imply a difference. 

If one insists on the difference, the culture of India cannot be des- 
cribed even as ‘composite’. For, ‘distinct’ cultures cannot make even a 
composite whole. In the context of the controversies on linguistic states 


the ‘elements’ of the ‘composite culture’ that first deserve to be fully 
known and understood are, of course, the ‘regional’ ones. 

Dr. M. R. Majmudar’s Cultural History of Gujarat is, therefore, a 
timely work. It is a significant work, because of what the history of one 
‘regional’ culture can teach us about the elwnents of our composite culture, 
and also, because it concerns the culture of a region which has a longer 
traditional and archaeological history than most othor regions of India 
(Bharat). It deals with culture of a region, and from a time, where and 
when quietistic and passivist Jaina religion was nurtured, though it was 
born in the far off eastern region of Bihar some centuries earlier. 

Dr. Majmudar has been known as a litterateur, ‘sakshara’ as they 
say it in Gujarati, for over a quarter of a century. For an equally long 
period he has been concerned in bringing to the notice of the artistic 
public the Miniature paintings and the sculptural and iconographic wealth 
of Gujarat. 

Competently qualified and mellowed in years and knowledge. 
Dr. Majmudar has given, in his Cultural History of Gujarat, to the read- 
ing public an interesting and instructive book. 

G. S. Ghurye 

Emeritus Professor of Sociology 



Gujarat has been a familiar name among tourists in India for quite 
a long time, though it was not a separate State. Its typical art and cul- 
ture and its association with the birth-places of and institutions established 
by both Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel have been some 
of the most modern powerful attractions. The recent oil-finds at Lunej in 
Cambay and at Hajat in Ankleswar have further attracted the country’s 
attention to Gujarat. Kandla, one of the major ports of India, is also 
situated on the northern border of Gujarat. 

The recent archaeological finds at Lothal near Dhandhuka, Ahmedabad 
Dist., and some sites like Rozdi in Saurastra tell us the history of Gujarat 
of 3,500 years ago, the times of Harappa and Mohen-jo-Daro culture. The 
Epics and Puranas tell us how Lord K|‘$na and Balarama evacuated 
Mathura as a result of Jarasandha’s pressure of invasions, and how they 
established themselves at Kusathali, afterwards known as Dwarka. 

Gujarat broadly covers the regions of EUaccha, Saura^ra and the 
territories between the rivers Banas and Damanganga. Rivers like the 
Banas, Sabarmati, Mahi, Tap! and Narmada on the coastal plains, and 
Bhadar, Setrunji and Bhogavo on the peninsular plains keep its fertile 
lands green. Except in the arid zones of Surondranagar and North 
Gujarat, the rainfall in Gujarat varies between 25 and 50 inches. 

A large part of the southern border line of Gujarat is covered with 
hills which are the tails of the mountains lying outside the State. 
There are also the rich forests full of various games, the rarest among 
which is the lion, which is found in the Gir forest of Saurastra. The Gir 
lions are the only species found in the whole of Asia to-day. 

Gujarat’s mountains, though not as lofty as the Himalayas, are rich 
in scenic beauty and have been closely associated with the religious and 
historical currents of Gujarat’s life. Most prominent among these are the 
Girnar, the Setrunjo, the Cotilo, the Bardo, the Arasur, the Pavagadh 
and the Taranga hills. The Girnar near Junagadh has a flame-like 
appearance and many a romantic tale is associated with it. The Setrunjo 
has famous Jaina temples of marble on it, and is known as a ‘temple-city’. 

As the Tropic of Cancer passes through Gujarat’s northern border, 
it has an intensely hot or cold climate. But the Arabian Sea and the Gulf 
of Cambay washing its western coast reduce the temperature and render 



the climate pleasant and healthy. The presence of the forest>covered 
rugged mountains and hills on the eastern boundary also help to reduce 
the intensity of climate. The period from October to February is the 
most suitable season for tourists. 

The people of Gujarat are courageous and enterprising. Though not 
stout in physique, they are gentle and have created a legend of their 
courage, patriotism, valour, chivalry and hospitality. Another distinguish- 
ing quality of Gujaratis has been their flair for incessant mercantile and 
maritime activities. Proximity to the sea coupled with the spirit of enter- 
prise has made the Gujaratis explore new horizons, which in turn, has 
fostered in them sound practical wisdom, catholicity of taste and social 
flexibility and amiability. 

Gujarat has distinct traditions of song and dance as well as drama. 
The best known among these are the Garaba, Garabi and Rasa. The folk- 
drama in Gujarat is known as Bhaval. There are also some folk-dances 
prevalent among the tribal people of Gujarat — ^the Bhils, Dangis, Mers. 
Kathis, Kolis and others. 

The land of Gujarat is practically studded with a number of places 
of pilgrimage which are so expressive of its varied culture. Prominent 
among these are Dwarka, Prabhas Patan, Satrunjaya, Gimar, Siddhapura, 
Udwada, Kotesvara, Narayana Sarovara and Bhadresvara. 

Gujarat derives its name from the Prakrit ‘Gujjaratta’, i.e. Gurjara 
Rastra, and means the ‘land of the Gurjaras’. The Gurjaras are believed 
to be an immigrant tribe who entered India along with the Hunas who 
settled in Rajasthan. The Gurjaras, since called Arbudas, passed through 
the Punjab and settled in some parts of Mt. Arbuda. These areas came to 
be known in due course as Gujarat, a name which became popular about 
the 10th century. 

The early history of Gujarat is full of the imperial grandeur of 
Candragupta Maurya whose powerful forces conquered the earlier states 
of Gujarat. It is said that a Vaisya called Pusyagupta ruled at Junagadh, 
as the governor of Maurya emperor in the last years of 3rd century B.C. 
It was Asoka, grandson of Candragupta, who left an everlasting memorial 
of his spiritual empire as mentioned in his famous edicts engraved on 
the rock at Junagadh. 

On the decline of the Mauryan empire, there was a Greek incursion 
led by Demetrius and the evidence of its contact with the Hellenistic world 
is shown by the And of numerous Greek and Roman coins in this region. 

From the first century A.D. to the beginning of the 5th century A.D., 
Satrapas, known as Ksatrapas, the name of Rudradaman (150 A.D.) stands 
out forcefully from the inscription on the above-mentioned rock at 



The K^atrapa regime was replaced by the Guptas. It was Candragupta n 
(Vikramaditya) who conquered Gujarat and issued a new silver coin. His 
successor Skahdagupta has left an inscription (452 A.D.) on the same 
famous rock at Junagadh, which mentions how his governors, Parnadatta 
and CakrapWta had repaired the embankment of the lake Sudarsana con- 
structed by the orders of Candragupta, and how it was once restored by 
the orders of Rudradaman after it was damaged by heavy floods. 

As Gupta power declined around the middle of the 5th century A.D., 
Senapati Bhattarka, the Maitraka general of the Guptas, established him- 
self in Saura^ti'a with his new capital at Valabhipura. Maitrakas of Valabhi 
were very powerful and they dominated large parts of Gujarat and even 
Malwa. Valabhipura not only became famous as the seat of a powerful 
kingdom, but could boast of a well-known University which could be com- 
pared with Nalahda. 

Cavadas (880-942 A.D.) who were the vassals of the Valabhis, held 
sway over some parts of north Gujarat and became independent with 
the fall of Valabhi. Of the eight rulers of the Cavada dynasty, the name 
of Vanaraja, the founder of the dynasty, stands out most prominently. It 
was he who. founded the capital of Gujarat at Anahilpura Patan, which 
was destined to play a great role in the history oif Gujarat. 

Solahkis or Culukkis got the throne of Gujarat as a result of adoption 
of Mularaja by the last Cavada ruler Samahtasiihha. Mularaja gave gene- 
rous grants to learned Brahmins who were invited from different parts of 
the country, especially from the North, and settled them in Gujarat. 

He established his complete hold over Saurastra and Kaccha by 
defeating Graharipu of Junagadh and Lakho Fulani of Kaccha. Of the 
other ten rulers of the Solanki dynasty, the names of Siddharaja Jaya- 
simha (1094-1143) and Kumarapala (1134-1174) are prominent. 

The story of Siddharaja Jayasiihha besieging the Junagadh fort and 
ultimately capturing it along with Ranakdevi, the wife of the ruler, 
Ra Khehgar, who became ‘sati’ at Wadhwan, though not supported by 
history, has become a popular legend of the bards. 

Lord Somanatha at Prabhasa was the chief god of the Solahkis. The 
temple of Somanatha was sacked twice during the Solanki regime and 
it was Kumarapala who reconstructed it. It is now rebuilt on the old 
site during the years 1950-62, after the Indian Independence. 

Vaghelas (1222-1298), who were formerly in the service of the Solanki 
rulers, founded a powerful dynasty after the decline of the Solahkis. Of 
the eight Vaghela rulers, Viradhavala (1233-1238) and Visaladeva (1243- 
1261) were mainly responsible for stabilising the prosperity of Gujarat 
after the fall of the Solahkis. The regime of Viradhavala is noted for 



the successful administration of his two most distinguished Amatyas, 
Vastup^a and Tejahpala, who built the magnificent temples at Abu, 
Kumbharia, Girnar and Satrunjaya. 

It was Vi^adeva who built the famous fort and temple of Vaidya- 
natha at Dabhoi and founded Vi^lnagar in North Gujarat. 

Karan Vaghela was the last ruler, who for ever lost the Rajaput hold 
over Gujarat against the superior forces of Sultan AlSuddin Khilji. 

The reign of Sultan Alauddin Khilji of Delhi witnessed the creation 
of the first Muslim empire in India and among the earliest victims of 
his conquests was the wealthy and prosperous Hindu kingdom of Gujarat. 

The period of Muslim domination over Gujarat which began with the 
downfall of Vaghela rule in about 1300 A.D. extended for over 400 years, 
and ended roughly with the final defeat of the Mughal Viceroy, Momin- 
khan by the Marthas, and the capture of Ahmedabad by them in 1758 A.D. 
In the beginning, Gujarat witnessed the largescale demolition of Soma- 
natha-Patan and Cambay, and the Khilji and Tughlaq Sultans of Delhi held 
their sway over Gujarat till 1409, when the powerful dynasty of the 
Sultans of Gujarat established their independent rule. 

Of the 15 Sultans, who ruled for a period of 166 years, mention must 
be made of Ahmad Shah I (1411-1442), the founder of Ahmedabad, and 
Mahmud I (1458-1511), known as Mahmud Begada, for their long rule 
during which Gujarat again recovered from the past ravages and plunders. 

The Mughals ruled over Gujarat from the time of Akbar's conquest 
in 1573 A.D. onwards, through their Subedars and Thanedars, for a period 
of nearly 185 years, during which regime Gujarat was treated as a Subah 
of the Mughal empire, royal princes being appointed as Governors. 

Within a few decades of the death of Aurangzeb, the Mughal suzerainty 
was largely affected by the growing Maratha power. The House of 
Gaikwad rose into prominence in Gujarat, and in course of time held 
sway over some parts of Gujarat and Saura$toa, and then became 


The first European power in Gujarat were the Portuguese who settled 
at Div, a small island on the southern coast of Saura^tra, in the year 
1537. The English came in wake of the Portuguese, entered Surat in 
Gujarat with the intention of trade, and then stayed as a suzerain power 
till 1947, when India became free. 

At that time, there were a number of princely States, especially in 
Saurastra. The process of the merger of these States started in the year 
1948. In that year, the ‘United States of Saurastra’ was formed. In sub- 
sequent years, other States also merged into the then Bombay State, 



Out of these merged States, the new districts of S&barka:(itha, 
Banaska^tha, MehsSnS, Amreli and Baroda were created ; and in the year 
1956, the entire State of Saura$tra was merged with the bigger bilingual 
State of Bombay. With the reorganisation of the Bombay State in May 
1960 again, the ‘State of Gujarat* was formed as the Fifteenth State of the 
Indian Republic. 


The nature of the life and literature which give to a country a 
living unity depend mainly upon its geographical peculiarities; the 
economic factors which develop common interests and aptitude among its 
inhabitants ; and the cultural influences which glisten through the fabric 
of social and religious institutions. These determinants impose the 
national character upon the people and upon all they do and express. 

In terms of Human Geography, Gujarflt may be described as a 
‘Provincial State’ within a ‘National State’, thus accoimting for the unity 
in diversity of Indian culture. India is a vast country with regions dif- 
fering in customs and climates, in fauna and flora, in art and architecture, 
in language and literature and even in men and manners. The diversity 
underlying the cultural imity, however, has enriched the country as a 
whole, and affords an interesting study to the scholar as also to the 

Western India has been from the remotest times a busy field of actions, 
re-actions and inter-actions of many an ethnic and linguistic force in the 
continent. Wave after wave of nations and races had swept over its 
face with their peculiar social and political institutions, languages, creeds 
and culture as varied and variegated as themselves. Thus Gujarat has 
been a field of conquering and settling races. 

Each of these hordes brought with it, its own language, arts and 
crafts, poetry, thought-forms, social practices, historical traditions, reli- 
gions, life and philosophy. Repeated immigrations from the north from 
that of the SakaS onwards also resulted in a fusion of heterogeneous 
traditions of Gujarat, which has made it an interesting province in more 
than one sense. 

Besides the early settlement of Aryans in Saurastra, Anarta and 
Apar^ta, who came by land, there were a large number of foreigners — 
Persians, Arabs and Africans — ^who came by sea, mostly through the ports 
of Saurastra for purposes of shelter, trade and conquest ; and during the 
centuries before and after the Christian era, hordes of Central Asian 
Kuipanas, Hunas, and other tribes came to swell their number. These 
foreigners settled in the province, and became so mixed up with the 



Aryans that the Dharmasdstras considered it a ‘Mlechha’ country, and 
forbade visits to it, except for the sake of pilgrimage. 

These foreigners were either absorbed by the existing castes, or 
formed new castes of their own ; and the once holy land of Gujarit 
became a land of strangers ; and became pre>emin'ently 'a land of sub- 
castes’. In no part of India are the sub-divisions of communities so 
minute, either in theory or in practice. 

By virtue of a long coast-line with several convenient anchorages, 
and by its proximity to the commercial and cultural zones of East Africa 
and Asia, Gujarat has been long exposed to the movements of peoples 
and to commercial and cultural contacts from these regions. 

The maritime activity of Gujarat was not restricted merely to com- 
merce. So early as circa B.C. 500, Prince Vijaya sailed from Sirhhapura 
tSihor) near modern Bhavnagar and settled in Ceylon ; and since then 
it had a close maritime intercourse with Bharukaccha and Surparaka. 

In the seventh century, a ruler of Gujarat, forewarned of the impend- 
ing doom which was to overtake his kingdom, sailed away with his fol- 
lowers from his native soil in six large and a hundred small vessels to 
lay the foimdalion of a new civilization in Java. Gujarat maintained 
a colony there, and the wealth brought from Java has passed into a 
popular proverb. 

Gujarati sailors, according to the authority of Vasco-de-Gama, knew 
how to guide their ships not only by the stars but by nautical instru- 
ments of their own. The Sultans of Gujarat proudly bore the title of 
“Lord of the Sea” ; and the Sanger Rajaputs of Kaccha and Navanagar 
were well-known for their skill in ship-building during the Sultanate. 
The East India Company, in circa 1735 A.D., found in Dhunjibhai of Surat, 
a master-architect of ships. Early in the nineteenth century, Motishah, 
a Jaina merchant, owned the largest mercantile fleet in Bombay. In 
the 20th century, Gujarati merchants had floated the only inter-continental 
Steamship Company of India, the ‘Sindhias’, which thus was the result of 
Gujarati enterprise. • 

The elements of various cultures were assimilated or adopted by the 
original occupants of Gujarat through commerce by land and by sea. 
Egypt, Arabia, Persia, China and other countries beyond the seas have 
played their role in this process through centuries of culture-contacts. 
So also other parts of India around Gujarat have helped this medley of 

The persistent maritime activities of the people of Gujarat through 
the ages, led to the rise among them of a well-to-do middle class which 



dominated social life, influenced politics, laid down traditioxis and shared 
with kings the patronage of arts and literature. 

The ‘middle class’ or the ‘Mahajan’ was a real representative of the 
heart of GujarSt culture, which distinguishes itself quite prominently 
from those in other provinces, where society is mainly comprised of two 
classes — ^the labourer and the landlord. In Gujarat the middle class forms 
a preponderant element ; and the authority wielded by its Mahajan is 
sometimes far-reaching than that of the rulers. The crafts and trades of 
each city in Gujarat had a guild of their own. The Mandasor inscriptions 
(437 and 473 A.D.) desciibe the constitution and fimctions of a typical lay- 
guild of silk-weavers of the 5th century who had migrated from Lata. 
What was true of the fifth, was also true of the later centuries. 

Acquisition of wealth became an important if not the sole end of 
life, and the display of it a great virtue. The cosmopolitan spirit of this 
class,, born of international intercourse, did not favour an ascetical or 
exclusive outlook on life, but fostered the instinct of adaptability and 
catholicity of spirit. 


The Gujarati people may be distinguished in four distinct culture- 
zones ; formed on the basis of the contours of the land ; — 

(1) The people of Kaccha, a low and arid region with less than 15 
inches of annual rainfall, are hardy, and endowed with a rare spirit of 
enterprise and a wonderful gift for business organisation. 

(2) The people of peninsula of Saurastra, which has a plateau in the 
centre, radially sloping to a narrow belt of coastal plains with good ports, 
and has a moderate rainfall (20 to 40 inches) and a good forest cover, 
are hardy and hospitable, and have a long maritime as well as martial 
tradition. They are artistic, and have a wealth of romantic and devotional 
literature also. 

Saurastra is* referred to in the Epics, the Puranas and classical 
Sanskrit literature, as also by foreigners like Strabo, Pliny, Ptolemy, 
Periplus and Huen Tsang. It was called ‘Sura§tra’, also, as it was famous 
for its natural wealth, which impressed a stranger, as we know from the 

(3) The coastal Gujarat with its northern extension falls into two 
sub-zones ; 

(i) North Gujarat, i.e. the coimtry between Mt. Abu and the Mahi 
river, is arid (15-20 inches of rainfall) and merges gradually into the 



This study has emerged out of a thesis originally submitted for MA 
degree from the Bombay University School of Economics and Sociology 
in 1929, since revised and almost re-written to bring it up-to-date. It may 
be mentioned at the outset that Prof. E. Barker’s study of ‘National 
Character’ (1924) has served me as a good model for interpreting social 
and cultural life of the Gujaratis during the course of its history. 

Whatever there is in this book of beauty or truth bears witness to 
the help and encouragement of various friends and elders. But the 
writer holds himself entirely responsible for the execution of the work 
as a whole, and for the opinions and theories set forth therein. 


My primary thanks are due to my teachers, Dr. G. S. Ghurye and 
the late Dr. N. A. Thoothi, for encouraging me to undertake this study 
as a Research Student of the Sociology Department. My thanks are due 
to Dr. Ghurye who has shown keen interest in all my research activities 
since then. I thank him once more for agreeing to sponsor this revised 
study of mine with a ‘Foreword’. 

I can but passingly refer to Dr. K. M. Munshi, (the late) Divan 
Bahadur K. M. Jhaveri and (the late) Rajaratna Ramanlal V. Desai, all 
of whom evinced more than a passing interest in this study of mine and 
desired to see it early in print. I am obliged to Dr. A. R. Desai, of the 
Bombay University Department of Sociology, a worthy son of Shri 
Ramanlal Desai, for helping me to see their wish fulfilled. 

I am obliged to Dr. Hansabahen Mehta and Dr. Jyotindra Mehta, the 
Vice-Chancellors of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and its 
Publication Board for sanctioning a substantial grant towards publication 
of this Cultural Study of Gujarat by an old boy of the original Baroda 

I remember with a sense of deep gratitude the interest taken by 
(now the late) Dr. Benoytosh Bhattacarya, Director, Baroda Oriental 
Institute (retired), and Srimati Raihanabahen Abbas Taiyabji, now of the 
Gandhi Smriti Bhavan, Rajaghat, New Delhi, for patiently revising my 
first draft, with untiring zeal and devotion. 

I cannot forget the help rendered by Dr. M. N. Shrinivas and Prof. 
C. M. Shukla in going through the final revision. Prof. Purushottam Patel 
of the English Department, also helped me in this work. 

I thank Prof. Chandramouli Majmudar, my son, Kumari Shraddhadevi, 
M.A., my daughter, and Mrs. Parimalfi, B.A., LL.B., my daughter-in-law, 
for preparing the ‘Index’ at a very short notice. 

niSFACE xix 

In order to make the text of the chapters more explicit and con> 
vincing, it was deemed necessary to enliven the solid printed matter with 
suitable illustrations. 

I am very much obliged to the various institutions and indivi- 
duals who have spontaneously spared the requisite blocks for this 
self-imposed mission. I am especially laid under a deep gratitude 
by Shri B. L. Mankad, Director, Baroda Museiun and Picture Gallery, 
Dr. B. J. Sandesara, Director, Oriental Institute, M. S. University of 
Baroda, Shri K. V. Saunder Rajan, Superintendent of Archaeology, 
Western Circle, Baroda, Shri M. H. Shah, Director of Information, Gov- 
ernment of Gujarat, Shri Bachubhai Ravat, Managing Editor, Kumar, Shri 
Champshibhai Udeshi, Managing Editor, Navachetan and other individuals 
whose courtesy for the loan of blocks has been fully acknowledged after the 
“Descriptive List of Art-Plates”. 

The credit of the actual carrying out of this scheme of textual illustra- 
tions goes to the liberal outlook evinced by Shri Ramdas Bhatkal of Popular 
Prakashan, Bombay. My heartiest thanks are due to him for this. And 
who can forget the printers of the Mouj Printing Bureau, especially Shri 
V. P. Bhagwat, who is responsible for the entire execution ? 

At the end, I am very much obliged to Padma-Shri Ravishahkar Raval, 
the noted veteran Artist and art-critic of Gujarat, and Shri Bachubhai 
Ravat — both seasoned Editors of the Cultural Gujarati-Art-monthly Kumar, 
running its forty-first year, for having brought their sound judgement to 
bear upon the selection of the Art-plates, without which the quality of the 
illustrations might have suffered a great deal. 

34, Pratapganj, 
Baroda 2. 

M. R. Majmudah 


Foreword by Dr. G. S. Ghurye vii 

Preface ix 

(I) Gujarat from the tourist’s point of view : Climate, rainfall, suitable 
season; Places of Interest; People, their distinguishing features; Cultural 
life; A resume of Gujarat Through the Ages; Name * Gujarat Fifteenth 
State of Indian Republic, since May 1960, with a population of 20 millions. 

(II) Gujarat— a Provincial State within a ‘National State’; Cultural Unity of 
India, underlying the diversity in customs and climate, flora and fauna, art 
and architecture, language and literature, men and manners. Gujarat a 
busy held of actions, re-actions and inter-actions of ethnic and linguistic 
forces : Maritime activities led to Cosmopolitan nature of the people. (Ill) 
Four distinct Culture-Zones in Gujarat formed on the contours of the land. 
(IV) Cultural homogeneity of the sub-divisions asserted itself with the 
development of Maritime trade. (V) Occupational folk-element in the 
people helped the shaping of the artistic tendencies. (VI) The genesis of 
the Study. (VII) Thanksgiving. 

Descriptive List of Art— plates : I-LXXXIX xxvii 

Map of Gujarat & Adjacent areas : Physical Features 

Acknowledgment for Photographs & Blocks xxv 

Introduction : The Scheme of Study 1-10 

Society in Gujarat 1; Scheme and Method of approach 2; Period of Study 5; 
Relation between Life and Literature 6: Sources 7; Culture and Cultural 
history 9. 

Chapter I : The Geographical Factor : Territory and Climate 11-33 

Gujarat : Position and boundaries 11; Pre-and Proto-history 12-13; Lata, 
Anarta, Saurastra, Kaccha and Aparahta 14-16; Three Culture-Zones 17; 
Name ‘Gujarat’, a political unit 18-20; A country makes its inhabitants— 
External shape and frontiers— Their influence on the life of a nation— On 
Government and foreign policy 20; Internal contents : Minerals, Building- 
stone; agate 21; Iron, Saltpetre 22, Sand, Mineral Springs 23; Petroleum 
and Natural Gas 24; Fauna of the land : Gujarat cattle 25; Buffaloes 26; 
Horses 27; Lion and Elephant 28-29; Flora : Forests 29; Soil and River- 
courses 30; Climate, temperature 31; Climatic influence— the great geogra- 
phical determinants in history : the sea and mountains : the plains 32-33. 


Chapter II : The Genetic Factor : Race and Caste 34-49. 

Race : Early tribes & Aryan settlements 34-35; Influx of foreigners— A 
mleccha country 36; Sub-divisions : Visa and Da.^a 37fn; Conversion to 
Hinduism 38; Mahomedans in Gujarat 38-39; The Parsis 40; Caste : Racial 
and Occupational 40; Brahmins 41; K^atriyas 45; Vaisyas 46; Sudras 48; 



Matrimonial aspect : Growth of sub-castes : 84 sub-divisions— The A<lhara 
Varna, nine Naru and five Karu 47; Sudra sub-sections 48; rise in social 
status 49. 

Chapter III : The Economic Factor : Population and Occupation 50-88 

Stages of Aryan immigration 50; Growth of population in Saurastra 51; in 
Mainland of Gujarat— Carotar, Vakal and Kanham 52; Population, effect of 
occupations 52; Agriculture, main occupation 53; Importance of monsoons 
54; Historic famines— ‘Pafidarotaro' 54; ^Sitasio’ 55; Famine-relief by Shah 
Jahan on Second ‘Sitasio’ 56; References in literature 57; ^Agnotaro’ 
58; Epidemics and floods 61; Migrations due to famine 62; Trade, second 
main occupation ; Inland trade-routes 63-66; Maritime routes 67; Trade at 
various ports 71; Ban jar as— carriers on land 72; Spirit of colonization 73; 
Gujaratis as seafarers, trade with north-west by Vayada Vaisyas 76; Ship- 
building industry 76-78; Manufacture, third main occupation 78; cotton 
manufacture 81; Arts and Crafts : Tie-dyeing 86; Embroidery 87; Patola 
silk-weaving 87-88. 

Chapter IV : The Temporal Factor : Political Heritage : Law and 

Government 89-137 

Law and Government, the State 39; Political background : (i) Early period : 
300 B.C.-746 A.D. 90-95; (ii) The Anhilwad Kings 746-1300 A.D. 95-106; (iii) 
Period of Mahomedan rule: 1300-1752 A.D, 106-112; (iv) The Marathas : 
1752-1818 A. D. 112-114; (v) Ancient Republics in Gujarat 114-116; (vi) 
Ideal of Kingship 117-119; Revenue and Taxation 119-122; (vii) Coinage 
122-130; (viii) Law and Administration 130-132; (ix) Public Service 132-137. 

Chapter V : The Social Factor : Marriage and Family 138->167 

Institution of marriage, adjustment between sexes 138; family 139; Joint 
Hindu Family 139; Shortcomings of 140; Disintegrating tendency 141; 
Discord in family life 142-144; Structure of Hindu Society 145; Ceremony 
of marriage 146; Marriage, a sacrament 147; Widow-remarriage 148; 
Child-marriages 149; Female-infanticide and status of a female child 151; 
Widows position in the family 153; Sati rites 155; Origin of Sati 156; 
Natra marriage 156; Social evils arising out of marriage : Sale of girls 157; 
Marriage with old men 158; Child-husband 159; Premature motherhood 160; 
Polygamy 161-162; Co-wives 163; Seclusion of women : Pardah 163; Eco- 
nomic status of a woman 164; Woman-kind of Gujarat 165; Ideal of a happy 
home 166-167. « 

Chapter VI ; Social and Economic Organisations : Communal Life 168-200 

Village, the unit of all organisations 168; Typical Gujarat Village 170; 
Administrative unit 171; Village Officers 172-173; Village Council 174-175; 
Settlement of village disputes 176; Village Paficayat 177; Grain-share 
178-182; Village well and temple 183; Communal life 184; Ideal and actual 
pictures of Brahmins 185; Rajaputs 186-188; Banias— Rise of the Middle 
class in Gujarat 189; Hereditary Artisan classes, crafts and trade-guilds 
191; Spinning, a home industry 193-194; Growth of cities 195; Population 
and dimensions of 196-197; The ^ Vasavaya’ 198; Paficayats and Mahajans 
199; * The Age of the Vaii^yas ' 200, 



Chapter VII : The Religious Factor : Religious Institutions 201-256 

Religion : (i) Hinduism : Its social origin, influenced by environments 201; 
(ii) Buddhism in Gujarat 202-206; (iii) Jainism 206 : Two sects of 207-208; 
Effects on non-Jainas 209; (iv) Neo-Hinduism 210-211; 6aradapitha. the 
culture— centre in the West, of iSahkaracarya's (785-820 A.D.) teachings 
founded at Dvarka known as'Pascima Amnaya'; (v) Vai?osvism 212-213; 
Bhakti and Vallabhacarya sect 214; Vitthalesvara 216; Its appeal to Gujarati 
community 217-218; Growth of Swaminaraya^a sect 219; Swami Dayananda 
212; (vi) Cult of Mother- worship 221; 6akti-worship in Gujarat of the 
benevolent form 222; Durga D^vi Mahatmya 223; Folk-drama Bhaval 224; 
Gujarati literature on Devi MIhItmya 224; Sakti-worship among Jainas 
226; (vii) Religion of the masses— Animism 226; Godlings of Nature 228; 
The Village Godlings 229; 6’tala, goddess of Hygiene 230; Sat?-worship 
and Memorial stones 231; Dreams 232; Religious suicide 233; Bhutas 234; 
Fertility rites 235 236; Evil eye 236. Worship of material objects 237-242; 
Worship of animals 243; Worship of trees and plants 244; Forms of Magic 
245-246; (viii) Fire-worshippers— Parses : Characteristics of their 
personality 246-248; (ix) Islam, the antithesis of Hinduism 249-250; Effect of 
Hinduism on Islam— Sufism 251; Effect of Islam on Hinduism 253; Efforts of 
Islamic Missionaries, the Pira^ia sect 254-255; (x) Eclecticism 255-256. 

Chapter Vm : The Aesthetic Factor : Arts of Pleasure 257-302 

(i) Food 257; (ii) Dress 258; Gujarati female dress : Coli-Carania and 
Sari 261-263 : Costumes in Miniature— paintings, male and female 264; (iii) 
Ornaments 266; Wali and foot-ornaments, badges of slavery 267; Tattooing 
268; (iv) Amusements and pastimes 268; Spring festival and ‘ Fa gu 269; 
Mahomedan influence on luxuries 270; Fairs 271; (v) Dramatic shows : folk 
drama— Bhavai 271-278; Rasadharls 274. (vi) Architecture (a) Ancient 
period ; upto 500 A.D. 275; (b) Early Mediaeval period : 500-1000 A. D 276; 
(c) Mediaeval period 1000-1300 A. D.-^276; (d) Late Mediaeval period 1300 
-1800 A.D. 278; Architecture, under Hindu Kings 279; Indo-Tslamic Archi- 
tecture 281; (vii) Sculpture ; Uncommon forms of Vispu and Temples of 
dikpdla Vayu and his consort Vayavi, peculiar to Gujarat 28i-287; (viii) 
Drawings and idealistic Paintings 289; Wall-pictures on religious occasions 
288; Lata painters 289 Secular paintings— ' Vasanta ViMsa* and *Rati 
Rahasya’ 289; Vijnaptipatra : roll of pictures 289 ; Rangol^ or sand-pictures 
291; Gujarati School of Miniature Paintings 292; Non-Jaina themes of 
Miniatures 292; A Gujarati painter of *Dasama Skandha* 294; (ix) Music 
and Dance: Group music 295; Indigenous music of Gujaral? : Rasa and 
Garabo 296; MargI and Desi music— Tradition of folk-dances Hallisaka and 
Lasya 299; Kedara and Malhara Raga sung by Narsirhha Mehta 301; Bhajans 

Chapter IX : The Literary Factor : tiaiiguage. Literature and 303-354 

(I) Language and literature 303; Rise of the Prakrits 304; Gujarati, a dialect 
of Old Western Rajasthani group 305; Later Apabhramsa and O. W. R, 306; 
Four components of Gujarati language 310; Foreign element of Videsi 
yrords— Greek 311; Persian 312-313; Portuguese 315; 



(II) Literature 315; Main themes of Gujarati literature 318; Religious and 
philosophic 318; Erotic strain 319; Main currents ; 'the Desis'in poetic dic- 
tion; Balladic Literature and political enviornment-; Purapic renaissance; 
Gujarati recensions ; Convention in literature ; Literature and the masses; 
Literature of home and hearth ; Philosophic, didactic and satiric strain 
337; Poetry of nature ; Poetry of patriotism and chivalry 339; Metrical 
romances 341; Span of Gujarati Literature : Period of Apabhramsa literature 
(1100-1500 Samvat) 341; The age of Pura^ic revival (1500-1700 Samvat) 
342; Glorious period of Medieval Gujarati literature 343 (1700-1820 Samvat) 
Period of political unrest (1820-1908 Samvat) 344; The Age of Pioneers of 
new Movements (1852-1886 A.D.)-345; The Age of Classic forms (1886-1920 
A.D. & onwards) 345. 

(III) Education maintains tradition-345; Education :practical 346; Religious 
and secular 347; Maktab andMadrasa 347; Village schools 347; Female edu- 
cation; Literacy of the masses; Encouragement to Sanskrit-study, under 
the Marathas-353; 

(IV) Cultural and contactual influences on Gujaratis-What Guiarat stands 
for ? Universal peace : Non slaughter and Non-violence preached and 
practised by Mahatma Gandhlji 353; Gospel of Pancaslla set forth by 
Pandit Nehru 354. 

Index of Names, Places, Topics 354-370 


I am very much graceful to the following Institutions and Individuals for 
kindly lending their Blocks or Photographs for reproduction 

(1) D rector, Baroda Museum and Picture Gallery, Shri B. L. MSnkafl 
Baroda, for blocks ; PI. XXII, XXXV Right, XXXVI 1, 2; XXXIX Right 

(2) Director, Oriental Inst'tute.M.S. University of Baroda, Dr. B. J. Sipde- 
sara, for blocks : PI. XXVII; XXVIII; XXXII; XXXIII Top; XXXIV; 
XXXV Left; XL; XLI; Kartikeya; XLII Surya; LII Below; LV; LXXV. 

(3) Director of Information, Gujarat State, Ahmedabad, Shri M. H. Shah 
for blocks : PI. LVII Top; LVill Bo'tom; LIX; LX; LXI; LXXI : Cradle and 
Sahga Manci; LXXIII Right; LXXXVI. 

(4j Superintendent of the Central Department of Archaeology, Western 
Circle, Baroda, for Photographs— PI. XI Below; LXXIX; Blocks : PI. XV 
Below; LXXIX and Set of Colour Blocks for Vijnaptipatra. 

(5) Director-General of Archaeology, New-Delhi. for Photographs— PI. I. 

(6) Superintendent of Records, Records Office. Baroda, Shri G. N. Khare, 
for blocks : PI. XVI (i) (ii), XVHI Below. 

(7) Managing Editor, ‘Kumar Karyalaya’, Ahmedabad : Sri Bachubhai 
Ravat. for blocks : PI. V; VII; VIII; X; XVll Scripts; XVIII Top; XIX XX. 

(8) Editor, ‘Navachetan’ (Gujarati monthly), Ahmedabad : Sri Campshibhai 
Udesbi for blocks : PI. Ill; XXIII; LXXXIII. 

(9) Editor, ‘ Akhapdanahd ’ (Gujarati monthly). Ahmedabad : Shri 
Tribhuvandas Thakkar, for blocks ; PI. XXX Below; XLIX. 

(10) Editor, ‘Navabharat’ (Gujarati Daily), Baroda : Shri Narendra 
Chokshi for blocks : PI. VI a. b; IX. 

(11) Shri Dasturji. Parsi Agiari, Navsari and Dr. Ratan Marshall, Secretary, 
Parsi Pancayat, Surat, for photographs : PI. LXII (i) Meherji Rana (ii) 
Atasa Behram at Navsari. 

(12) President, Shuddhadvaita Sahsad, Baroda; Prof. G. H. Bhatt for blocks 
PI. LI Left (1) (2). 

(13) Artist Sri Bavishankar Raval for sketches of Classical Gujarati poets 
PI, LXXXIl, and of Swaminarayapa PI, LI, 

(14) Artist Shri Kanu Desai, for PI. LXXVI; LXXXVII; & LXXXVIIl. 

(15) Shri Ramasinghji Rathod for blocks from his publication 'Kaccha nu 
SanskrliDarpana’ : PI. XII Top left; XLIV Below; LlII; LXIV Bottom; 



(16) Managing Editor, Journal of the University of Bombay, Bombay for 
blocks : Set of four-colour blocks : Vamanavatara : 

(17) Dr. M. R. Majmudar’s collection : PI. XLl Left; XLIl Right; L; Lll Top 
left and top right; LXXIV Left Top; LXXVIIl Left. 

(18) President, Shri Premanand Sahitya Sabha, Baroda, for blocks 

(19) Editor, ^ Gujarat Mitra * : (Gujarati weekly), Surat, for blocks : PI. L; 
LII Top two; 

(20) For the use of the Map of Gujarat and Adjacent areas : Physical 
Features : from « THE PERSONALITY OF INDIA** (Revised 2nd edition; 
1960) by the late Dr. B. Subbarao, the Registrar, Maharaja Sayajirao 
University of Baroda, is thanked. 

(21 ) For photographs of J§ri Abhinavasaccidananda Tirtha and the Entrance- 
Gate sarada Pitha Dwarka, thanks are due to Mm. i^astri Mahabala Bhatt* 
Secretary to Sri i^ahkaracarya. (Plate printed behind colour plate IV) 


Chapter I : The Geographical Factor : Territory and Climate 

PLATE I ; Proto-historic Harappan site of Lothal, 45 miles from Ahmedabad : 
Top Left ; Row of excavated houses. On Right and below ; Seals, resembl- 
ing the Mohehjo Daro Seals of the Indus Valley. Left Centre : Painted 
Pottery (p. 13). 

PLATE II : Flora and Fauna . Top Left : Bunyan Tree (p. 244); Top Right : Lion 
from Gir (p. 28); Below Left: Peacock; Right : Kankreji breed of cow (p. 26). 

PLATE 111 : Flamingos at Nala Sarovara and at Little Rann, Kaccha. 

PLATE IV : Top Left : Girnar Mountain. Right : Derrick Towers raised in 1960 
fordrillingwellsatLupej and Anklesvar for Natural Oil and Gas (pp. 24-25); 
Below : Tala j a Hill, Saura$tra. 

PLATE V : Pavagadh Hills with Campaner city at bottom. 

Chapter II : The Genetic Factor : Race and Caste 

PLATE VI : An Old Ahira. A Bhil Youth. 

PLATE VII : Top Left : A Saurastra Kupbi lad. Below : A Saura$tra Shepherd- 
ess. Top Right : A Bhil family. Centre : A Saura^tra Rabari, Below : A 
Rabari woman. 

PLATE VIII ; Grazing Sheep. 

Chapter III ; The Economic Factor : Population and Occupation 

PLATE IX : Village woman fetching water. 

PLATE X: Top Left: A Potter; Right : A Bangle-maker. Below : A Basket- 
weaver. Centre : Churning. Right : A Cloth-weaver (p. 47). 

PLATE XI : Top : Ship in sculpture at Vimala Vasahi, Mt. Abu. Below : Ship on 
Memorial Stones, from Arambhada, near Dwark§, (pp. 73-74). 

PLATE XII : Top Left : A Stone depicting a Naval-Fight, from Bhuj Museum. 
Right : A Gujarjti ship in sculpture at Borobudur, Java. Below Left : Ship 
in a Manuscript— painting of Sripala Rasa. Right : Gujarat Prince entering 
Lanka : from a painting in Ajanta frescoes (p. 73). 

Chapter IV : The Temporal Factor : Political Heritage : Law and Government 

PLATE XIII : Acarya Hemacahdrasuri'with King Kumarapala, sitting at his 
feet : from a palm-leaf Ms. of Hemacandra’s " Mahaviracarita ” from Patan 
(N. Gujarat), copied in Saihvat 1294 (Enlarged) (p, 102). 

PLATE XIV : Portrait Sculptures : Prom Left ; Minister Vastupala and his two 
wives, in Vastupala’s Temple at Mt. Abu (p. 105); Portrait sculptures of 
Vanaraja at Patan (p. 96); Paramara Dharavar$a at Acalgadh, Mt. Abu; 
Mantri Asaka at Patan. 



PLATE XV: Top : Hiravijayasuri's reception by Emperor Akbar in 1568 A.D. 
(p. 208). Below ; Emperor Jahangir giving a Firman for non-slaughter : from 
a scroll-painting in 1610 A.D., by court-artist i^alivahan (p. 289). 

PLATE XVI ; Maratha Sardars of Gaekwad : Left : Raoji Apaji Phanse (d. 1802 
A.D.); Right : Vitthalrao Devaji, Kathiawad DivauJi (d. 1830 A.D.) (p. 114). 

PLATE XVII : A Coin of Nahapana, a Mahak§atrapa, with an arrow and 
thunderbolt on the reverse. Coins of Later K^atrapas (3rd-4th century) with 
a three-arched hill, surmounted by a crescent. Gold coin of Cahdragupta II 
(c. 375-414 A.D.) : Obv. Horseman type, Rev. Goddess seated on a stool. 
Silver coins of Kumaragupta I : Obv. bust. Rev. Winged Peacock Silver coin 
of Skahdagupta (455-467 A.D.) ; Obv. bust. Rev. known as ‘Nandi type’ 
Maitraka coins of Valabhi kings : Obv. 6ri Bhattarka (bust); Rev., trident 
(TrisuJa) with a long handle. Indo-Sassanian Coins : later debased Gadhia 
form : Deformation of the bust and fire-altar, shown as lines and dots. Gold 
coins (from Pandavaha near Jhansi) of Jayasimha Siddharaja (1094-1141 
A.D.). Silver coins are also found from Pilvai, North Gujarat. 

Prevalent Scripts (1) Brahmi Script, Asokan : 3rd century B.C. (2) 
Kharo?t (3) Brahmihri, which is read from right to left: 1st century A.D. 
script, Gupta period: 4th century A.D. (4) Early Nagari script: 9th-10th 
century A.D. 

PLATE XXVIII : Military Architecture : Top : City Fort-gate of Jhinjhuvada, 
western side, North-West Gujarat. Below : Main Gale at Vajpur Fort, 
Songadh Taluka, S. Gujarat. 

PLATE XIX : Memorials (Chatri) built in memory of Royal Persons (p. 231). 
Chapter V : The Social Factor : Marriage and Family 

PLATE XX : Marriage and Family : A Bride with ornaments : circular ear- 
rings, nose-ring, bracelets, rings etc. 

PLATE XXI : A Bride-groom in ceremonial dress. 

PLATE XXII : Mother & Child : Blessings of Marriage. Right and Left : From 
Kotyarka temple, Mahudi.Vijapur taluka, N. Gujarat (7th century); Centre : 
A torso from samalaji (7th century). 

PLATE XXIII : Woman with a hearty smile, decked in circular earrings with a 
chain, and a nose-ring. 

Chapter VI : Social and Economic Organisations : Communal Life 

PLATE XXIV : Village-site : Herd of cows returning home (p. 170). 

PLATE XXV : A ‘ Cabutaro a philanthTophic ornamented stand-post, for 
feeding birds with grains, found in every village of Gujarat. 

PLATE XXVI : Amusements and Games : Top Left : Ciiicavo. Top Right ; 
Blind — man’s buff. Below : ‘Phera-phundadi* — A merry-go-round (p.269). 

PLATE XXVII : Place of Temple in village life : Temple at Gop with a Caitya- 
window design in Saura?tra, Halar Dist. (After conservation in 1959) 
(5th cen.) (pp. 183,278). 

PLATE XXVIII : Gurjara-Pratihara style Temple at Roda, Idar State with an 
Amalaka on the 6ikhara (9th century) (p. 183). 



PLATE XXIX : Water-supply ; Reservoirs : Nakhi Talav on Mt. Abu 
(pp. 197.278). 

PLATE XXX : Dudhia Talav, on Mt. Pavagadh, Eastern Gujarat. Sahasralinga 
Sarovara, Culverts at Patan, N. Gujarat (11th century). 

PLATE XXXI : A step*well, with the top storeys in view. A sculptured balcony 
from Adalaj Vava, (step-well) few miles from Ahmedabad, built in Samvat 

Chapter VII : The Religious Factor : Religious Institutions 

PLATE XXXII : Buddhism (p. 204). Sculptured Cave-Entrance at Kharh- 
bhalida, Buddhist Cave, Central Saurastra (p. 275). 

PLATE XXXIII : Left and top : Terracotta Buddhas (Now in Archaeological 
Museum, M. S. University of Baroda) (p. 205). A round stone-box with a lid, 
containing relics, unearthed in 1963, from the Buddhist Stupa at Devani 
Mori, Samalaji, north-east Gujarat; with a Brahm! inscription, bearing ^aka 
year 127 (205 A. D.) (M. S. University Archaeological Museum). 

PLATE XXXIV : Terracotta seated Buddhas, from the Buddhist Stupa at 
Devani Mori, near Samalaji, E. Gujarat (4th century) (M. S. University 
Museum, Baroda). 

PLATE XXXV : Bronze sculpture in round. 

Left : Inscribed Buddha Memorial-Bronze, from Bhuj Museum (7th century) 
Right : Camaradhariiji from Ako{a hoard, found near Baroda (6lh century). 

PLATE XXXVI : From top : (1) Four Sections of Jaina Society : The 
Caturvidha Sarhgha : Sadhu, SadhvT, iSravaka and 6ravika, from a palm-leaf 
Ms. (p. 207). (2) Caturvidha Sarhgha : painted on a wooden panel. (3) Jaina 
Sadhus going on way (p. 206). 

PLATE XXXVII ; Ajitanatha Temple built by Kumarapaia (1143-1172 A. D.), 
on Tarahga Hill, N. Gujarat. Jaina Temples on Mt. Girnar (p. 276), 12th & 
13th centuries. 

PLATE XXXVIll : Jaina Temples on Mt. satruhjaya (p. 278). 

PLATE XXXIX : Neo-Hinduism : Images of the Hindu Pantheon : Vai^navism ; 
From left (1) Garuda, the conveyance of Vi^nu, in human form: from 
Dohad (Pahcamahals) (10th century), (2) Govardhana-dharana, and ^akata- 
bhahga, from Mandor, near Jodhpur (6th century), saivism : (3) Ekamukha 
Lihga, from Khedbrahma, Idar State (6th cen.) (Baroda Museum). Below : 
Worship of Tginity : Trimurti head from Limbodra, Rajpipla State, (8th 
century) (Baroda Museum). 

PLATE XL : Left : Vamana assuming Virata-form when King Bali is offering 
water for the gift : from Osia (8th century). Right : A composite image of 
Hari-Hara from Osia, Southern Rajasthan (8th century). 

PLATE XLI : Special variety of Vispn images in Western India : Ten-armed 
Vi^nu on man-Garuda, from N. Gujarat (11th century). Kum.'jra Kartikeya, 
son of i^iva, and Commander of the gods, from Samalaji (7lh century). 

PLATE XLIl : Left : Surya (Sun-God) seated on a seven-horse vehicle 
symbolising the seven colours of the Sun-rays, from Uhza, N. Gujarat (9th 
century). Right : Pleasing image of Candra (Moon), from near the Surya 
temple, Modhera, N. Gujarat (Early 10th century). 



PLATE XLIII : Virabhadra diva, with a halo : from damaliji, in greenish stone 
(6th century). 

PLATE XLIV: Surya Temple at Modhera, N. Gujarat: Sabha-Mapdapa (10th 
century) (p. 280-281). Jaina Vasahi Temple at BhadreSvara, Kaccha. 

PLATE XLV: Remains of Rudra Mahalaya, Siddhapur, N. Gujarat (11th 
century) (p. 277). 

PLATE XL VI : Ceiling, Delvada Temple, Mt. Abu (11th century). 

PLATE XL VII : Ceiling, Marble Temple at Kumbharia, Mt. Abu (11th century) 

PLATE XLVIII : The episode of Kaliya-damana, subduing of Kaliya Naga, by 
Bala in the ceiling. Ceilings from Temples at Kaccha. 

PLATE XLIX : Rapachhodji-Vi^pu Temple at Dwarka, known as Jagat Mandir 

PLATE L : and Rama Episodes; on outer panels of the damalaji temple, 

Sabarkaptha Dist : (1) Kaliyanaga>damana by Krspa, after a jump from the 
Kadamba tree. (2) Kidnapping of SIta by Ravana, and Vadha of Marica in 
antelope-form by Rama. (3) Kr$pa with the milk-maid, and Putana-vadha 
by child-Kr$pa. (4) Piercing seven Tala trees at a time, by an arrow from 

PLATE LI: Preachers of Vai?pavism : dri Vallabhacarya (Saihvat 1529-1587, 
1473-1531 A.D.) (p. 213). Viithalesvara Goswami (Sarhvat 1572-1642, 1516- 
1586 A.D.) (p. 214). Swaminarayapa Sabajanahda (Saihvat 1837-1886,1781- 
1830 A.D.) (p. 221). Swami Dayanahda Sarasvati, Founder of Arya Samaj 
Born atTahkarainMorbi State, Saura§tra (Sarhvat 188L1939; 1825-1883 A.D.) 


PLATE LIl : Religion of the Masses : Top Left ; ditala Devi, with a winnow on 
head, from Modhera temple (12th century). (Dhyana-description of the 
goddess— on p. 230 footnote). Top Right : ditala with a donkey, and a trisula 
in hand and a pot of water on head. Below : ditala Devi, the Goddess of rural 
and urban hygiene, mounted on a donkey, from a temple at Osia, S. Rajas- 
than (9th century). 

PLATE LIII : Religion of the Masses : A series of Paliyas : Memorial Stones : of 
Heroes, Satis, Saints etc, depicted with various symbols. Worshipped by 
their kith and kin. Stray Memorial Stones (pp. 231, 241). 

PLATE LIV : Religion of the Masses ; A Mother presenting toy-horses to the 
Goddess, for the recovery of her child. Daily round of aGtfjarati house-wife: 
Sprinkling on the Tulasl-plant. Muslim ladies bringing ojfferings to the holy 
Pir, enshrined in graves. Worshipping Naga on Naga-pahcami day (p. 244). 

PLATE LV : Nagaraja, at Vasisthasrama, Mt. Abu (9th century). de$aSayi 
Vi§pu from Chab talav at Dohad, Pancamahals (10th century) (Now in 
Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay). 

PLATE LVI : Muslim Architecture : Ceiling of a Kalpav|:k§a (Divine Tree) : 
design from daikh Pharid’s Tomb at Patan (N. Gujarat) (14th century). 

PLATE LVII : Muslim Architecture : Masjid at Canipaner, at the foot of Mt, 
PAvagadh (15th century) (p. 279). Tomb at Sarkhej, near Ahmedabad, seen 
with its reflection in water (15th century). 



PLATE LVIll ; Hajira of Kutubuddin« near Pratapnagar^ Baroda : of the time 
of Akbar (1553->1605 A. D.)- Makabara at Junagadh (Saura$trd)- 

PLATE LIX : Shaking Minarets at Ahmedabad (15th century). 

PLATE LX : World-famous Traceried Stone-Screen in a wall of the Sidi 
Saiyad^s Tomb, Ahmedabad (15th century). 

PLATE LXl : Variegated Design-panels in a Stone-Screen, from Sidi Saiyad’s 
Masjid at Ahmedabad. 

PLATE LXII : Fire-worshippers (p. 246) : Left : Meherji R§p&, the first 
Dasturji (priest) of the Fire Temple at Navsari ; who was invited by 
Emperor Akbar. At his instance, a permanent lamp was kept burning 
night and day, by the emperor. Top Right : Atasa Behram at Navsari, founded 
by the Zoroastrian Ahjuman, Navsari in 1795 A. D. : Present building built 
in 1925. An early Parsi family in contemporary dress. 

Chapter VIII : Aesthetic Factor : Arts of Pleasure 

PLATE LXIIl : A Bahjhari woman, illustrating special Dress and Ornaments 
worn on auspicious occasions (pp. 260-61, 266). 

PLATE LXIV : Variegated Embroidery 'Ahiri bharat ’ : Torapa (hangings for 
the door-frame) (p. 77.) Skirt-border (Kora) on the Sari ; Peacock and 
Parrot design— Bhuj work, Kaccha (17th century). 

PLATE LXV : ACakala (Hanging Curtain for walls) with Embroidery, Bhuj 
work— Kaccha. 

PLATE LXVI : From a Wall-painting at Bhuj Palace, Kaccha. Maharaja 
Vakhatsimhaji— From a Wall-painting at Sihor Palace, Old capital of 
Bhavnagar State (16th century). 

PLATE LXVIl : A Painting on Cloth of two Gopis (Picchavai), used as a 
background against the idols in worship. Tree shown in silhouette; Gopis 
wearing pompons. 

PLATE LXVIll : Rahgoll Designs for auspicious occasions ; To be done with 
white, red or yellow powder (p. 291). 

PLATE LXIX ; Paper-Stencils for Sand-pictures in Vai^pava temples ; Top : 
Vastra-harai>a-lUa— the episode of Kr^^a’s taking over the clothes of 
bathing Gopis. Below : An ornamented Cow with a suckling calf. 

PLATE LXX: Gujarat Wood-Sculpture : A Balcony of a Gujarati house, with 
minutely ornamented brackets. 

PLATE LXXI: Gujarat Wood-Sculpture : Front of a Gujarati house with 
carved doors, .^uspicious figures of Gapesa and Goddesses in view (p. 286). 
A Cradle, with two birds perched on the central beam. Sahkheda Lacquer- 
work (Central Gujarat). A Sahga-mahei : An ornamented seat with a back 
and handles. Sahkheda Lacquer-work (Central Gujarat). 

PLATE LXXII : Ivory-carving : Curtains from Bhuj Ayana Mahal Palace of the 
Rao of Kaccha, with an inscription of Samvat 1764 (1708 A.D.). 

PLATE LXXIII: Gujarat Metal work ; Top Left : Bronze Head of the First 
Tirthahkara Adinatha, f rom Akota hoard, near Baroda (5th century) (p. 286). 
Top Right and Below : Gujarat Dlpalak^ml (16th century). 

PLATE LXXI V : Top Left : A life-size Buddha Bronze with inscription on the 
back, from Kotyarka, Vijapur Taluka, N. Gujarat (8th century). Top Right : 
ParSvanatha from Lilvadeva, a village in the Pancamahals (10th century). 



Below Right : A Dipalak§mi. Below Left : Metal- ware : for fetching sacred 
water from holy places. Scenes inscribed from Krsna-LIla on a brass-lota: 
(a) Dadhi-mathana, (b) Kali—nathana. 

PLATE LXXV ; Da^da-Rasaka : A group of youths and ladies with sticks (dapda) 
in hands: Fresco in Bagh Caves, on the old route from Majva to Gujarat 
(p. 296). 

PLATE LXXVl: Gujarati ladies engaged in keeping tala (tali) in a Garabo 
A many-holed ghata (earthen pot), with a burning lamp inside— a *Garabo’ 
(p. 296). Jaga-nrtya : In honour of Goddess Ambika. 

PLATE LXXVII: A party of Dancers and Musicians : Panels from Delvad§ 
Temple, Mt. Abu (p,296). 

PLATE LXXVIll : An actor of Bhavai, assuming the role of Ardha-narisvara : 
Left half Isvara and right half Parvati (p. 221). 

All itinerant Minstrel with an Eka-taro (one-string instrument) to accom- 
pany recital of bhajans (devotional songs) (p. 298). 

PLATE LXXIX : Jaina Miniatures : on Wooden Panels (Pa tali) : From the life 
of Parsvanatha, done in Samvat 1425 (1369 A.D.). Jaina Jhana Mandira, 

PLATE LXXX : Call of the Flute to the cows in the court-yard. Four-armed 
Kr?na being offered Bhoga (eatables) by Gopis— Paper Miniatures from 
‘Balagopala Stuti* by Bilvamahgala Swami : a Sanskrit composition of 
stray verses re: Kr§pa's childhood, in the Western Indian Miniature style 
(Eijrly 15ih cen.) (p. 292). Kr§na lifting the Govardhana, and protecting 
Gokula against heavy rains. 

PLATE LXXXI : Left : Sage Markapdeya narrating exploits of Goddess Durga 
(Early 15th century). Above : Camunda holding heads of demons Canda 
and Manda in the two lower hands (Early 15th century). — Devi Mahatmya 
Miniatures on Paper : In the selfsame style of Jaina themes (Early 15th 
century) : Camui^da Killing demon Mahisa. 

Chapter IX : The Literary Factor : Language, Literature and Education 

PLATE LXXXII ; Classical Gujarati Poets: Hemacandra Suri (Samvat 1145- 
1229). Narasirhha Mehta (Samvat 1470-1525). Mirabai (Samvat 1558-1625), 
liiravijaya Sari (Samvat 1583-1652). Akho Bhagat (Samvat 1640-1708). 
Premnnahda (Samvat 1700-1775). Samalbhatla (Samvat 1740-1820), 
Dayarama (Samvat 1833-1908). (p. 316). 

PLATE LXXXIII : Child Kr§na moving on the knees, holding butter in hand, 
admiringly observed by mother Yasoda. Child Krsna interrupting mother 
Yasoda engaged in churning curds. Child Kniaa being humoured by Yasoda 
by rocking him on her legs— Illustrations from Bhalana’s Gujarati verse- 
version of Dasama Skandha”, executed in the folk-style, and not using any 
fixed picture-frame : Ms?« is written in the popular Gujarati script under 
a continuous head-line (Late 17th century). 

PLATE LXXXIV : Family-tree of sri Kr§ua . whose grandson Aniruddha 
marries U§a; illustrated by a mango-tree, spread out in twelve branches 
representing the twelve skahdhas of the Bhagavata. Maiden U§a, being 
anointed with perfumed oil by her nearest and dearest, prior to her sacred 
bath before marriage-^Illustrations from Premananda's Akhyana of “Usa- 



hara^a *’ done in the derivative Rajaput style, atNandurbar, West Khandei§a, 
the text being copied in traditional Devanagari script. 

PLATE LXXXV A Brahmin lad reading a Manuscript under an old oiMamp- 
stand; Points to the Literacy in the higher classes. 

PLATE LXXXVI : A devout Muslim religiously reading the Kuran, shows 
literacy among a section of the community. 

PLATE LXXXVIl : *Vai§pava-j ana ’ by Sri Kanu Desai. Mahatma Gandhi prea- 
ching Vai$nstvism in actual practice : Voiced through the unforgettable 
poem ' Vais^ava-jana * of the Saint-poet Narasimha Mehta. 

PLATE LXXXVIII : ‘ Saint of Asia * by Sri Kanu Desai. Mahatma Gandhi, the 
apostle of Truth and Non-violence, reflects the ‘Light of Asia* personified 
in Buddha, shown in the background (p. 354). 

PLATE LXXXIX : Plate, behind Colour-Plate IV ; (i) Shrimad Abhinavasac- 
cidananda Tirtha : the Present Presiding Head of ^arardapitha, founded by 
Sri ^ahkaracarya (785-820 A.D.) at Dwarka: (ii) The Entrance— gate to the 
6arada Pitha in a wing of Rapacchodaji Temple, Dwarka (p. 210-211). 


PLATE I : Mahgala-Kalasa : The auspicious Water-pot with petals of lotuses 
held by a typical Gujarati lady in holy reverence. 

PLATE II ; Vclmandvatdra : one of the ten avataras, from Gita-Govinda — the 
earliest illustration of Jayadeva (c. 1150 A. D.)'s Vai^^ava lyric, in the 
Western Indian Miniature Style ; From the Mss. collection of §ri Bala- 
satikara Bhattji of Kalika Mata temple on Pavagadh (p. 292). 

PLATE III ; Bhdgavata Dasama Sfcandha— the last folio painted in the traditional 
Western Indian Miniature style, three-fourths profile, giving place to strict 
profile.— From the collection of Goswami 6ri Vrajabhu§a^alalji, of Kankroli 

plate IV : Portio7is from a VijnapUpatra : A painted letter-scroll, addressed to 
Acarya Vijayasena Suri by the Samgha of Agra, requesting him to pass the 
on-coming caturmasa (monsoOn) in their town. This Suri had succeeded in 
getting an Imperial firman of Akbar, prohibiting animal-slaughter during 
the Paryusa^a week. This firman was renewed by Jahangir, in 1610 A. D. 
(1667 Samvat), this time the deputation being led by Vivekahar§a and 
Udayahar^?a, disciples of Vijayasena Suri — Letter is painted by ^alivahan, 
the court-painter, who, besides giving a likeness of Jahangir, gives the 
finest illustrations of the common life of the people. 



Proto-hi.storic Uarappan Site of Lothal, 45 miles from Ahmedabad : 

7 \)p left : I^ow of excavated houses. On right and below: §eals, resembling the Mohenjo 
Daro Seals of the Indus \'allcy. Left centre: Painted Pottery, (p. 13) 

Top Left: Bunyan Tree (p. 244); Top Right: Lion from Gir (p. 28). 
Below Left: Peacock; Right: Kankreji breed of cow (p. 26} 


Top Left : Girnar Mountain. Right : Derrick Towers raised in i960 for drilling wells at Luncj and 
Anklcivar for Natural Oil and Gas (pp 24-25); Below: Talaja Hill, Saurastra. 

Pavagadh Hills with Campaner city at bottom. 

T Ku^jbi lad. Below; A Saurastra Shepherdess. 

Top Right: A Bhil family. Centre: A Saurastra Rabari. Below: A Rabari woman 


Grazing Sheep 


Village woman fetching water 


Top Left: A Potter. Right: A Bangle-maker. Below: A Basket 



Acarya Hemacandrasuri with King Kumarapala, sitting at his feet: from a palm-leaf Ms. of Hemacandra’s 
^ahaviracanta ' from Patan (X. Gujarat), copied in Samvat 1294. (Enlarged) (p. 102) 


Portrait Sculptures; From left: Minister Vastupala and his two wives in Vastupala’s Temple at Mt. Abu (p. 105): Portrait sculptures of 
Vanaraja at Patan (p. 96); Paramara Dbaravarsa at Acalgaclb, Mt. Abu; Mantri Anaka at Patau. 


Top : Heeravijayasuri’s reception by Emperor Akbar in 1568 A. D. (p 008) 
Below: Emperor Jahangir giving a Firman for non-slaughter : 'from a scroll-painting 
in 1610 A. D., by court-artist Salivahan, 


Maratha Sardars of Gaekwad : Left : Raoji Apaji Fanse (d. 1S02 A. D.). Right : ViUhalrao Devaji, Kathiavvad Divanji (d. 1830 A.D.) (p. 114) 


Gujarat Coins through the Ages (p. 122) 

A Coin of Nahapuna, a Mahaksatrapa, with 
an arrow and thunderbolt on the reverse. 

Coins of Later Ksatrnpas (3rd-4th century) with 
a three- arched hill, surmounted by a crescent. 

Gold coin of Candragupta II (c.375-414 A.I).):Obv. 
Horseman type; J^ev. Goddess seated on a stool. 

Silver coins of Kumfiragupta i : 
Obv. bust; Rev. Winged Pea-cock. 

Silver coin of Skandagupta (455-4^^7 A. D.) 
Obv. bust; & Rev. known as ‘Nandi type*. 

Indo-Sassanian Coins : later debased Gadhia 
form: Deformation of the bust and fire-altar, 
shown as lines and dots. 

Gold coins (from Pajjclavfihri near Jhansi) of 
Jayasiriiha Siddharaja (1094-11^3 A.D.) Silver 
coins are also found from Pilvai, North Gujarat, 

Prevalent Scripts 

Maitraka coins of Valabhi kings : Obv. Sri Bhattarka 
(bust); Rev., trident (Trisula) with a long handle. 


Military Architecture 

Top: City Fort gate of Jhinjhuvada, western side, North-West Gujarat 
Below : Main Gate at Vajpur Fort, Songadh Taluka, S. Gujarat 


Marriage and Family: 

A Bride with ornaments : circular ear-rings, nose-ring, bracelets, rings etc. 


A Bride-groom in ceremonial dress 


Right and Left: From Kotyarka temple, 
Mahudi, Vijapur Taluka, N. Gujarat (7th century); 
Centre: A torso from Samalaji {7th century) 


Woman with a hearty smile decked in circular earrings with a chain, and a nose-ring. 


Village-site: Herd of cows returning home fp. 170) 


A Xabutaro*, a philanthrophic ornamented stand-post, 
for feeding birds with grains, found in every village of Gujarat. 


incavo. Top right: Blind man’s buff. Below: Fera-fuhdadi — A merry go-round (p. 269) 

Place of Temple in village life : 

Tcini)lc at Gup with a Caitya-window design in Saurastra, Hfilar Dist, 
(After conservation in 1959) (5th centiury) (p. 183, 278) 


Gurjara.~Pratihara style Temple at Roda, Idar State with an Amalaka on the Sikhara* 

(cjth century) (p. 183) 

^^’ate^-supply : Reservoirs : 

Nakhi Talav on Mt. Abu (p. 197, 278} 


A step-well, with the top storeys in view. 

A sculptured balcony from Adalaj Vava, (step*well) few miles from Ahmedabad, 

built in samvat 1495. 


Buddhism; (p. 204) 

Sculptured Cave-Entrance at Khaiiibhalida, Buddhist Cave, Central SaurjLjtra (p. 275) 



Bionze Sculpture in round. 

Left: Inscribed Buddha Memorial - Bronze, from Bhuj Museum (7th century). 
Right ; Camaradharini from Akota hoard, found near l^aroda (6th century). 


rrom Top: (i) Four Sections of Jaina Society: The Catufvidha Saihgha: Sadhu, Sadhvi, 
i^ravaka and Sravika, from a palm-leaf Ms. (p. 207) 

(2) Caturvidha Sariigha : painted on a wooden panel 

(3) Jaina Sadhus going on way (p. 206) 


Ajitanatha Temple built by Kumarapala (1143-1172 A. D.), on Taraiiga Hill, N. Gujarat 

Jaina Temples on Mt. Girniir (p, 276), 12th & 13th centuries. 


Jaina Temples on Mt. Satruiijaya (p. 278) 

Neo-Hinduism : 

Images of the Hindu Pantheon : 
Vaisnavism: From left (i) Ga- 
luda, the conveyance of 
in human form: from Dohad 
(Pancamahals) (loth century). 
(2) Govardhana - dharana, and 
J^akata-bhaiiga, from Maiulor, 
near Jodhpur (6th century). 

Saivism : (3) Ekamukha Lihga, 
from Khedbrahma, Iclar State 
(6th century), (Fiaroda Museum.) 

Below : Worship of Trinity : 
Trimurti head from Limbodra, 
Rajpiplii State, (8th century), 
(Baroda Museum.) 


Left: Vamana assuming Virata-form when King Bali is offering water for the gift: from Osia (8th century} 
Right : A composite image of Hari-Hara from Osia, Southern Rajasthan : (8th century) 



Ceiling, Delva<,la Temple^ Mt. Abu (nth century) 


Ceiling, Marble Temple at Kuiiibharia, Mt. Abu (itth century) 


Ra^Jachhof]ji-V^sIJu Temple at Dwarka, known as Jagat Mandir (p. 313) 


Krsiia and Rama Episodes: 
on outer panels of the Samalaji temple, Sabarkfintha. 

(i) Kallyanaga-damana by Krsna, after a jump from the Kadamba tree. 

(2) Kidnapping of SUa by Ravana, and Vadha of Marica in antelope- form by Kfuru 

(3) Krsna with the milk-maid, and Putana-vadha by dyld-Krsna. 

(4) Piercing seven Tala trees at a time, by an arrow from Rama. 


Sri Vallabhacurya 

(Saiiivat 1529-1587, 1473-1531 A. D.) (p. 2ij) 

Vitthalesvara Goswami Bom at Taiikara in Morbi State, Saurastra 

(Samvat 1572-1642, 1516- 15S6 A. D.) (p. 214) (Sariivat 1881-1939: 1825-18S3 A. D.j 


Top Left : Sitala Devi, with a winnow 
on head, from Modhera temple (i2th 
century). (Dhyana-description of the 
goddess-on p. 230 footnote). 

Top Right : Si tala with a donkey, 
and a tri'iula in hand and a pot of 
water on head. 

Below : Sitala Devi, the Goddess of 
rural and urban hygiene, mounted 
on a dpnkey, from a temple at Osia, 
S. Rajasthan (9th century). 

Stray Memorial Stones (p. 231, 241) 


Religion of the Masses 

A Mother presenting toy-horses to the Daily round of a Gujarati house-wife: 

Goddess, for the recovery of her child.* Sprinkling on the Tulasi-plant. 


Se§ai4ayi Visnu from Cluib talav at Dohad^ Pancamahals (loth century) 
(Now in Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay) 


Muslim Architecture: 

Ceiling of a Kalpavrksa (Divine Tree) design : 
from §aikh Farid’s Tomb at Patan (N. Gujarat) (r4th century) 




World-famous Traceried Stone-Screen in a wall of the Sidi Saiyad's Tomb, Ahmedabad. (r5th 



A Banjliati woman, illustrating special Dress & Ornaments worn on auspicious occasions. 

( pp. 36o-6i : iOG) 

Variegated Kinbroidery ‘Ahiri bharat': Toraiia (hangings for the door-frame) (p. 77) 



Maharaja Vakhatsihihaji 

From a W'all-painting at Sihor Palace-Old capital of Bhavnagar State (i6th century) 

A Paintinj^ on ( loth of two Gopis (Picchavfii), used as a background against the idols in worship, 
Irec shown in silhouette; Gopis wearing pompons. 


Raiigoli Dcbigns for auspicious occasions: To be 
done with white, red or yellow powder, (p. 291) 


Paper-Stencils for Sand-pictures in Vaisnava temples: 

Top: Vastra harana lila-tho episode of Kri^na's takin^i( over the clothes of bathing Gopis. 
JJelovv: An ornamented Cow with a suckling calf. 


Gujarat Wood-Sculpture: 

A Balcony of a Gujarati house, with minutely ornamented brackets. 



Ivory-carvin,Lr ; 

Curtains from IMiuj Ayanfi Malial Palace of the Kao of Kaccha, 
with an inscription of Saiiivat i7()^ (1708 A. I>.) 

K' '/:■ 

' V ij 'i^''^' _ 

■ v^ ..^4 -^iW 


Ll .'\;' ■ *>'0 

t>;' ■ , 

^ ^ ^ ^ •WfwW _ 

i k I ■* 


^XXXX ' 

■* *yy 2 .o ^ «4 J f 

A life-size Huciclha Bronze 
with inscription on the 
back, from Kotyarka, 
Vijapur Taluka, N. (iujarat. 
(8th century) 

Top Right: 

a village in the Paiica- 
mahals (loth century) 

Below Right: 

A Dipalaksmi. 

Below Left : 

Metal- ware: for fetching 
sacred water from holy 
places. Scenes inscribed 
from Krisna-Lila on a brass- 
lota: (a) Dadhi-mathana, & 
(b) Kalinathana. 

ff— ■ 


■f ■■ 

' , 'll 

— r- 



f ) ■ 

■T/lr ' iV -wl 

f' V 


ivf mv;- »,-f..: 


4 ^1 

4 1. 1 

I » \ 






N < 

I V>tV> 

^^^^XXjXZrrry rrr^rr-rr r t - ^ 

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A life-size Buddha P>ronze 
with inscription on the 
back, from Kotyarka, 
Vijapur Tfiluka, N. Gujarat. 
(8th century) 

Top Right : 

a village in the Pahea- 
mahais (loth century) 

Below Right: 

A Dipalaksmi. 

Below Left : 

Metal- ware: for fetching 
sacred water from holy 
places. Scenes inscribed 
from Krisna-Lila on a brass- 
lota: (a) Dadhi-mathana, & 
(b) Krdinathana. 

I if w 


% \ 




A party of Dancers and Musicians: Panels from Dclvada Temple, Mt. Abu. (p. 296) 


An actor of Bhaval, assuming the role of An itinerant Minstrel with an Eka taro 

Ardha-narisvara: Left half Isvara and (one-string instrument) to accompany recital 

right half Parvati. (p. 221) bhajans (devotional songs) (p. 298) 


Bhagavata Da<ama Skandha-the last folio : 

In the transitional Western Indian Miniature style, three-fourths profile, giving place to strict profile. 
From the Collection of Goswami Sri Vrajabhu>analalji, of Kahkroli (Rajasthan). 


Family-tree of Sri Krisna, whose grand-son 
Aniruddha marries Usa; illustrated by a man- 
go-tree, spread out in twelve branches, repre- 
senting the twelve skandhas of the Bhagavata. 

Maiden Usa being’ anointed with perfumed 
oil by her nearest and dearest, prior to her 
sacred bath before marriage. 



A Brahmin lad reading a Manuscript undi r an old oil lamp stand ; 
Points to the literacy in the highiT classes. 


A devout Muslim religiously reading the Kurfm: 
Shows literacy among a section of the community. 



Saint of .Wia,' by Shri Kami Desai 

Mahatma (jaiidhi, the apostle of Truth and Non-violence, reflects the Light of Asia 
l>crsor.ified in Buddha, shown in the background. 

(P- 354) 

Portions from a Vijnaptipatra : 

A painted letter-scroll, addressed to Acarya Vijayasena Sfiri by the Saiiigha of Agra, requesting 
him to pass the on-coming caturmasa (monsoon) in their town. This Siiri had succeeded in getting an 
Imperial firman of Akbar, prohibiting animal-slaughter during the Paryusana week. This firman was 
renewed by Jahangir in ibio A. I). (1667 Samvat), this time the deputation being led by Vivekaharsa 
and Udayaharsa, disciples of Vijayasena Suri. 

Letter is painted by Siilivahan, the court-painter, who, besides giving a likeness of Jahangir, 
gives the finest illustrations of the common life of the people. 



T ie nature of life, literature and art of a country depends upon 
(1) its geographical peculiarities, (2) the economic factors which 
create and develop common interests, and (3) the cultural influences 
which glisten through the fabric of the political and religious institutions 
giving them a living unity. These determinants impose a national character 
upon its people and upon all that they do and express. 

The study of the Society of Gujarat means an incursion into the wide 
field of the history of Gujarat or rather the history of Gujarati Society, 
speaking a common language, its manners and customs, culture and learning, 
philosophy and religion. However diverse the characteristics which make 
up the sum-total of social life in Gujarat, these, like the qualities which 
combine in an individual, will be seen to be not merely juxtaposed, but an 
inter-related, inter-dependent and integrated whole. 

The purpose is to present the social, religious and political life of the 
people of Gujarat in a non-political setting, such as may establish the place 
of the Gujaratis, racially, culturally and historically, in what may be broadly 
named Indian life and civilization. 

The life of Gujarat records the interplay of two factors : (a) the indi- 
viduality of the Gujaratis expressed through a consciously directed group- 
life ; and (b) the influence of the culture which, originating with the Early 
Aryans, has maintained the homogeneity of Indian life and the continuity 
of its traditions for the last three thousand years. To the first, Gujarat owes 
its outlook on life, its social institutions, its language and literature, and the 
urge to remain a single social organism. The second has created forces 
which stimulate an^ unify its collective impulses impelling it to find a greater 
self-fulfilment in the corporate life of India. 

The Gujarati Society is a large group of persons sharing a common life 
for some period of time — either long or short— which creates a ‘ Social 
Environment ’. It is constituted of smaller societies, which serve as links 
between itself and the individual, and stand out very distinctly from the 
society to which they owe allegiance and from each other, as in the case of 
the Muslim or ParsI ‘ Social Groups ’ in Gujarat ; but sometimes the 
barriers which fence them in, change and lose the sharpness of their outlines. 



The Vaisnavas of Gujarat, for instance, more often than not, include the 
Vallahhdcdris, Rddhdvallahhis, Swdmindrdyanas and others; and the 
Jainas of Gujarat include, the Svetdmharas, the Digarhbaras, the 
Sthdnakavdsis and the like. 

Sometimes, again, these groups are made up of trading classes, 
irrespective of caste or creed; including Kacchis, Bhdfids, Luhdnds and 
Memons, Bohrds of Gujarat and Banids of Gujarat and Saura^tra. City- 
groups, known as Siirtis, Bharucis, Ahmeddhddis, Pattanis, Kharhhhdtts, 
Bhdvnagarls, etc., are all groups of a vague regional character welded together 
by a common life-pursuit. More sharply defined, however, were the political 
groups — the Ldtas, the Sorathis, the Pattanis, etc., — which existed at the time 
when there were different principalities in Broach, Saurastra and Anahil- 
pattan. All these groups had a common aim which dominated the lives of all 
who lived in Gujarat, coloured their arts and crafts, their literature, their 
thoughts and feelings, and welded many diverse elements into one well-knit 
whole, which we can designate ‘ the people of Gujarat ^ 

Proximity is by no means a necessary condition of the unity of a 
people — as witness the ubiquitous Gujarati trader — who carries his group- 
characteristics about with him all over the world, and sets up a small Gujarat 
wherever he may happen to set his foot*. Nor does common political control 
ensure folk-unity. Khandesh, part of Malwa, and portions of Saurastra 
were for centuries under Gujarati kings and sovereigns, till Akbar finally 
resettled the present limits of Gujarat in 1578 A. D. The Mdlavls then, were 
brought under the domination with the Khdndeshis and the Sorathis; but 
never did they become one with them. 


We now turn to indicate the method of approach and some of the pre- 
suppositions on which the argument will be based. If we accept the defini- 
tion of * Nation * given by E, Barker, we shall find that it applies in the main 
to Gujarati Society. He says; “‘Nation Ms a body of men inhabiting a 
definite territory, who possess a common stock of thoughts and feelings : 
include in that common stock a common religious belief, who generally use a 
common language, also cherish a common will, and accordingly form a sepa- 
rate State for the expression and realization of that wiir*“. 

1. Cf. Poet Khabardar’s apt message to the 8th Gujarati Literary Conference 
(1926) held in Bombay, sent from Madras, his new home : 

“ ^ ^ gsKFET. ” 

2. E. Barker ; National Character, p. 17. 



What is the * National Character’? It is the sum-total of tendencies 
acquired by a group of people who have lived together imder the same con- 
ditions for a very long period of time ; have been moulded by the same 
circumstances ; have had to deal with the same, or similar problems ; have 
had the same sort of joys and sorrows, had been fired by the same ideals and 
aspirations — in short, who, having evolved shoulder to shoulder, so to speak, 
had the same sort of mental, emotional and spiritual ‘ make-up It is, then, 
this simultaneous evolution that we must study in all its details, if we would 
arrive at a comprehensive intimate knowledge of the Gujarati people and 
their peculiar character. 

A people have a spiritual superstructure on a material basis. The 
material basis consists of three elements, of which the first is "Geographical 
Environment", or the geographical characteristics of that particular portion 
of the globe which a race inhabits and which exercise a very deep and subtle 
influence on every aspect of its evolution. This we shall call the ‘ Geographi- 
cal Factor ’ : (Chapter J). 

The second element is the “People” itself, the occupants of the terri- 
tory in question, making up the ‘Genetic Factor’ of Race and Caste : 
(Chapter II). 

The third element is “Population”, i. e., the number of souls constituting 
the people, and the manner of their distribution over the whole of the terri- 
tory. This determines their occupation and economic conditions, and, 
obviously, has a profound effect on every department of their common life 
and growth. Here, then, we have the third or the ‘ Economic Factor ’ of 
Population and Occupation ; and its importance for the people is incalcu- 
lable: (Chapter III). 

The spiritual superstructure of a nation consists of its thoughts 
and ideals, its deepest desires and most sacred instincts and impul- 
ses. Though the ‘ material ’, by which we mean the purely external condi- 
tions, and the ‘ spiritual ’, by which we mean the purely internal activities of 
a people to mould and modify each other, it is well-nigh impossible to sepa- 
rate them wholly, yet for the purposes of our present study we shall have to 
make an effort to isolate and distinguish between them. 

The ‘ Spiritual Superstructure ’ is a subtle network of unseen threads 
linking mind to mind, which gives a personality to the community and guides 
those who shape its destinies. A close exaiqination reveals to us the follow- 
ing main “threads”. There is the thread of “Law and Government” — political 
and legal organization — which regulates social conduct and is sanctioned by a 
set of ideas concerning the necessity of social cohesion and public discipline. 
Law and Order are absolutely indispensable to a well-ordered and useful 



existence. This is the ‘ Temporal Factor ' of Political Heritage of a people : 
(Chapter IV). 

There is, then, the most vital thread of '‘Marriage and Family”, the 
nucleus of all social existence. Just as the State is necessary to a well-order- 
ed existence, free from fears and external annoyances^ even so is * Marriage 
and Family ’ necessary to preserve the decencies of social intercourse and 
build up a stable social superstructure which makes all human effort and 
achievement possible. This is the ' Social Factor ’ of Marriage and Family in 
a particular Society : (Chapter V). 

One solitary individual finds himself ineffectual if he has not the 
strength of some social organization behind him. Group-action and social 
progress are possible only if the separate social groups act in harmony, weav- 
ing the varied interests of a society into a single cord of human uplift. This 
is the ‘ Socio-Economic Factor ’ of Corporate Life among the people : (Chapter 

Then comes the thread of "Religion” — to Indian minds the most vital 
thing of all — illuminating every nook and corner of human existence, domi- 
nating not only individual but even group-activity, as witness the treaties, 
the alliances and the conflicts which have arisen out of religious zeal. Insti- 
tutional religion establishes itself as power-house of social control, and 
mankind has governed itself at every stage by the help of, and in the inter- 
ests of, religion and religious institutions. This is the ‘ Spiritual Factor ^ of 
Religious Institutions : (Chapter VII). 

Adjustment to his physical, social, economic and religious environ- 
ments takes up an enormous amount of Man’s time and energy. When these 
are attended to reasonably well, the pressure of life lets up somewhat; and he 
then has leisure to think of his comforts and lesser needs. The leisure, 
secured by a settled organization to meet the demands of the struggle for ex- 
istence, he devotes to what may be called the “Arts of Pleasure”. It is to the 
advantage of any society that its members should not be content with crude 
pleasures; for the refinements of existence and aesthetic tastes are amongst 
the finest flowers of a civilization. This is the “Aesthetcc Factor” of what 
may be called the ' Useful’ as well as the ‘ Fine ’ Arts in human life : (Chapter 

And then we have another thread — the thread of "Language and Liter- 
ature”. It expresses a people’s sense of beauty, its reaching out towards 
Truth. It expresses the inmost longings and desires, failings and ideals, of the 
human heart, laying bare the deeply-hidden main springs of life itself; and it 
impresses itself in no uncertain manner on the formation and reformation of 
social life and organization. Language is not a mere jumble of words. Each 



word is charged with associations that touch feelings and evoke thoughts, too 
deep and subtle to be expressed in speech. 

Then finally, there is the thread of ‘Education’— a uniform system of 
bringing up and training the young. This produces a distinct type of mentality, 
shaping the minds of men to a certain uniformity, and turning them into 
decent men and good citizens, with a sense of their social obligations and res- 
ponsibilities towards themselves and the State. This is the composite 'Liter- 
ary Factor ’ of Language, Literature and Education : {Chapter IX ) . 


The period chosen covers a vast tract of years. Without any reference 
to the pre-History and the proto-History of Gujarat, within this long period 
lie three main epochs in the history of Gujarat : the Hindu epoch upto 1297 
A. D., the Moslem epoch upto 1752, and the Maratha upto about 1818 or a 
little later. The known records date from the times of Mularaja Calukya, who 
brought the major portion of Gujarat and Saurastra under one sway, ascend- 
ing the throne of Anahilwad in Vikrama Sarhvat 998 (942 A.D.). Of the times 
before that we know very little save only what a few coins (as of the 
K^atrapas)and inscriptions and copper-plate grants (as of the Maitrakas and 
the Gurjara-Pratiharas) can tell us. We shall be on surer ground from the 
times of Mularaja, till we come to the occupation of Gujarat by the British 
in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. 

This marks the beginning of social, intellectual and religious upheaval 
in the life of the Gujaratis. It was a challenge to replace all the old and 
time-honoured ways of our forefathers by a foreign culture. The highest to 
the lowest strata of society were lured to a change which would make the 
highest more high, and the lowest as high as the highest. It was a challenge 
to our old economic organisation, in as much as money economy wanted to 
displace the old social economy. Liberty of personal religion, the right to 
worship whom and as we will, and equality of opportunities for all are some 
of the vital features^ that invaded our national existence. So the beginning 
of this momentous occasion seems a very suitable ending to the period we 
propose to study : for, that is the moment when Gujarat stood, as it were, at 
the cross-roads. 

The ancient Hindu epoch will carry us through the Mauryan, the 
Ksatrapa and the Gupta supremacy in Saurastra, the rise and fall of the 
Maitrakas at Valabhipura, and to the founding of Panchasar and Anahilwad by 
the Cavadas. Records of this period will enable us to trace the sources of the 
springs of the people of Gujarat in all its ramifications, and to give a synthetic 



account thereof, which will deal not only with the Hindu period, but will 
extend to all the epochs under purview. 


All incidents, unless they be taken singly, are found to be links in 
the ever-lengthening chain of human life and evolution. Social, political, 
religious and economic organizations affect and are affected by their 
environments ; and both together, in their turn, affect the life of the people 
as a whole, giving an ultimate shape to their ways of living, their ideas 
and ideals. The same holds true of literature. When we investigate the 
literature of any given moment, we have to take into account its relation, 
not only with the then existing state of society, but also with all the other 
literatures from which it has developed and which has helped to mould 
contemporary life in all its aspects. 

Thoughts, feelings, ideals change; the manner of their utterance 
changes likewise. Chasms yawn between us and bygone generations; and 
many a book, or piece of art, or religious dogma which once enthralled the 
hearts of men seems vapid and futile to us, who belong to another age, and 
are touched by other modes of “passion” and use other manners of speech. 

Ancient forms of art — ^such as literature, sculpture, paintings, coins, 
architecture, etc., — which to us to-day are hopelessly lacking in all artistic 
appeal, and whose importance for us lies only in their antiquity, — are, 
nevertheless, for scholars and antiquarians, magic portals which usher them 
straightway into the fairyland of poignant and thrilling romance. Are they 
not records of bygone ages, living messages from the hearts of the ancients 
to our own, giving us precious glimpses into their lives — their activities, 
thoughts, and aspirations? 

Literature records every aspect of life; and is meant to appeal to 
every type of mentality and to respond to every mood; nevertheless, unaided 
it cannot resuscitate for us the whole life of any society. If we ask, for 
example, why our Gujarat! writers produced, and wby Gujarati rural 
audiences — ^with Rakhidas as the patron — enjoyed Samal Bhatta’s stories in 
the 18th century; or why the versions of the Epics and the Puranas were 
more current in the 16th and the 17th centuries; or why the shorter lyrics 
of Dayaram were favourites with the people of the 19th century; or why 
the didactic poetry of Dalpatram enjoyed the greatest popularity in the 
century previous — or, if we were to ask why mediaeval Gujarati writers 
found their best artistic expression in the * Akhyanas or what induced more 
than one writer to make renderings of the same Purapic Episodes at about 



the same time; or, if Mire ware to seek the causes for the general coldness 
of one section of the society towards the conventional sermons of the Jaina 
ascetics on the one hand, and the strong and often stormy passion which 
swept into the Bhakti poetry with the development of Vaispavism on the 
other, — ^we shall find that the answer will carry us far beyond the 
comparatively narrow limits of mere literary taste. 


The sources for the cultural history of Gujarat may be divided into 
four classes. The first of these is ‘tradition’, as recorded chiefly in the 
writings of Pandits, Yatis, Bhatas and Caranas, and the ^eat mass of 
miscellaneous folk-literature besides; the second consists of those writings 
of foreign travellers and historians which contain observations on Gujarati 
life and manners; the third is the evidence of Archaeology, which may 
be subdivided into the monumental, the epigraphic, and the numismatic; and 
the fourth comprises the few contemporary or nearly contemporary works 
which deal expressly with semi-historical and socio-religious subjects. 

The great Sanskrit Epics, whose vernacular recensions have existed 
from the 13th century upto the present times, are of special value as 
traditional pictures of social life and sentiments during the period, and so 
are the works of poets and saints — ^which, put together, afford considerable 
material for the sociologist— and the ‘Rasas’ of the Jaina sect, which though 
still imperfectly known, are yet of considerable sociological value, because 
of numerous statements and allusions they contain. 

We possess no historical records of the earlier times — say from the 
date of Krsna’s Yadava Colony in Saurastra, except such as have been 
preserved in the stories of sages and heroes of old, in genealogies and 
dynastic lists, in coins, copper-plate grants and stone-inscriptions — the reason 
being that in those times intellectual activity was strictly restricted to the 
religious orders — Brahmanas, or Jaina and Buddhist monks — and thus 
literature dealt wit,ji systems of faith rather than national history, with 
speculation than with action, with ideas than with events, with spiritual than 
with social evolution. This has rendered it an inexhaustible store-house 
of valuable records for the historian of Religion and Philo.sophy, Law and 
Political Institutions; but hardly for the historian of Social Life and Manners 
before the Muslim conquest. ' 

The inscriptions, most of which are commemorative, dedicatory or 
donative, supply most valuable evidence regarding the political, social and 
economic conditions of the period and the country to which they 



belong. The coins have preserved the names and titles of kings who have 
left no other record, and sometimes enable us to reconstruct the dynastic 
lists and determine the chronology and the geographical limits of ancient 
kingdoms. The devices on the coins and the names of mint-towns afford 
interesting information. In Prof. Rapson’s words, 'The Muse of History 
has often been helped by her Numismatic hand-maid.” 

The foreign authorities, i.e., the records of impressions left on the 
minds of Greek, Muslim, Chinese, Portuguese and English travellers, 
describe events which have, in many cases, been completely ignored by the 
Brahmin, Jaina and Buddhist writers of those times. Thus these two 
contemporary sources of information regarding political, religious and 
social institutions are independent of each other, and hence of prime 
historical value; although the observations of foreigners must necessarily 
be superficial, needing verification at every step, and not by any means to 
be regarded as pure and unadulterated gospel. 

Foreign scholars are seldom so interested in the past of an alien 
country as to make an intensive study of it; still, what little we know of the 
ancient history of Gujarat is due to the pioneer efforts of A. K. Forbes, 
Col. Todd, Campbell, Watson, Burgess, Cousens and others. 

Gujarati society is the embodiment of an ancient tradition which 
underwent modification only in the last century, when it came in contact 
with a distinctly new culture; and it will be our task to examine this 
ancient culture and its far-reaching influence on the lives of the people of 
Gujarat. As early as 1858 A. D., Kavi Narmadashankar chalked out the 
ines for such a study in his two articles on Gujardtionl Sthiti.^ Govar- 
dhanram TripathVs paper based on the historical, and literary materials then 
available, dealt with the Influence of the Gujarati Poets on Society and 
Morals,* The third attempt at a study of Social Life of Gujarat as portrayed 
in Sdmalahhat^a's Metrical Romances was by Ranajitram Vavabhai in the 
first decade of the present century/' Dr. K. M. Munshi® in Gujardta : Eka 
Sdnskdrika Vyakti, visualised Gujarat as a ‘ Cultural Unit In Gujardta- 
ni Sanskritinu Avalokana! the late Ratnamanirao Bhimarao gave us a 
cultural and social study of Gujarat. Gujardtand Sdnskdritvanu GhadatarcC 

3. Printed in iVarmo-grtdya, (1875). 

4. Classical Poets of Gujarat, ( 1894). 

5. Vide, Buddhi-Pralcdsh, (1909). 

6. Lecture before 5dfiit2/a Samsad, Bombay, (1922). 

7. Vide, his subsequent Volumes on Cujardtano Sdnskdrika Itihdsa, Islam Yuga^ 
Vol.I (1945), Vol. II (1954), Vol.IH (1957), Vol. IV (1959). 

8. Kaumudi Monthly, (1931). 



by Prof. K. H. Kamdar and an illuminating cultural study of Gujarati Prajd- 
n& Laksano^y by the late Ramanlal Desai deserve mention as covering 
the same common ground. Prof. Rasiklal Parikh’s Background of Gujarat 
Hiatory upto Siddhardja and Kumdrapdla^°, and a complementary survey 
of the Infiltration of the Brahmanical Tradition in Gujardt^' by Durgashahkar 
Shastri also deserve mention. Mohanlal Desai, Muni JinavijayajI and Muni 
Punyavijayaji have portrayed in their various writings the special quota of 
the Jainas to the general culture of Gujarat. 


The social history of a race must necessarily be co-extensive with its 
cultural history. For, culture is the sum-total of the intellectual, moral and 
institutional achievements of a people, and is best revealed in the ideas they 
entertain and the ideals they cherish, which again, in their turn, generally 
seek expression in contemporary literature, the mirror par excellence of the 
mind of the age. 

Unfortunately, however, the concerns of worldly life hardly interested 
the thinking people of those times. Everyday occurrences were hardly likely 
t o touch the imaginations of those who lived in the world, but were no 
‘‘of it”.'* They were transcendentalists, not sociologists. 

Indirect allusions, however, and passing references to contemporary 
events, similes and metaphors drawn from contemporary life, pen-pictures 
unwittingly drawn of living men and women while trying to portray char- 
acters in the Puranas and the Epics — ^these we may find in plenty’^ and the 
social life of those days can, to certain extent, be reconstructed from these; 
but this sort of evidence must not be too greatly relied on. Far more con- 
clusive is that afforded by the overt acts of the people, which reveal aspects 
of their mental and physical life regarding which, perhaps, both tongue and 
pen have been silent. 

9. Jivana ane Sdhitya, Part I, ( 1936 ) . 

10. Introduction, Vdt. II, Hcmacandra's KdvydnuSdsana, (1936). 

11. Thakkar Vasanji Lectures (1946); Bharatiya Sanskdronu Giijardlamu 
AvataravLaj (1950). 

12. The ideal of these people is mirrored in ' Arjuna-Gitd * by Dhanadas, Brhat 
Kdvya Dohanaj Part II, page 82 ; — 

“ wiRJif w:# w <Tr?? : 

& 5in>i iTKt 

13. Cf. *Do§i Vaoio’ and *l§amalasha Setha* in Premananda’s 'Mdmeru^ and 

'dukracdrya* in Ahhimanyu Akhydna, Draupadi in * Subhadrdharana', etc. 



Philology may be requisitioned to explain certain historical facts and 
events; and so may etymology, which is of great help in the investigation of 
the origins of customs, and may enable us to trace those of Gujarat to either 
the Mahomedans or the original Hindus. 

A number of proverbs and witty sayings are nothing but lightning- 
sketches of the various items of the social life of the times. Although they 
afford us glimpses into the domestic life of the people, they are hardly 
adequate to give us a proper estimate of their social character; while the 
political histories extant, contain but few details which would be of special 
interest to the student of sociology. 

This study is an effort to describe the evolution of the life and ideals 
of an ancient and historical people, loosely called * Gujaratis*. The territorial 
acquisition of Gujarat by the British in 1818 A. D. marked the beginning 
of a distinctly new period in the history of Gujarati people, and the 
investigation had to stop at this period of momentous transition. 

The social history of Gujarat in the 19th century differs so much and so 
markedly from that which preceded it, that it must be reserved for a future 
study. That will be a fascinating story indeed — the story of a most 
difficult social adjustment and adaptation, of a fusion of conflicting cultures, 
when an ancient people were called upon to accept strange and alien ways of 
thinking and living and to mould themselves accordingly — with what results, 
only the future historian can tell us. 

Chapter 1 


T he starting point for the study of things human is natural environ- 
ment. Physical conditions, such as climate, topography, and water- 
distribution, and the type of organic life they create, have an immense 
influence on the life and growth of man. 

Kavi Narmadashankar has poetically described the boundaries of 
Gujarat thus ; in the north Amba Mata, in the east Kali Mata, in the south 
Kuntesvara Mahadeva and in the west Somanatha and Dwarka— these are 
the four limits of Gujarat.' 

This region, which is composed of two parts— the mainland of Gujarat 
and the peninsula of modern Saurastra — was not called ' Gujarat ’ in ancient 
times, nor did it form one geographical or political unit. 

It comprised three provinces of which the peninsula was named Saura- 
stra, and the other portion, roughly speaking, consisted of Anarta and the 
Lata, Anarta forming the northern and Lata the central and southern parts 
of the present Gujarat. The exact boundaries of these provinces were, how- 
ever, uncertain, and they varied greatly during the course of history.’ 

1. »iRr, 

b ^ ^ : 

^ K 'ifanT : 

5i?f 3iq g5T^. ” 

2. For earlier references to the Province, Vide Cunningham's The Ancient 
Geography of Indit, pp. 11-12 ; — 

"The five divisions of India or “the Five Indies’* as they are usually called 
by the Chinese : mentions Western India as comprising Sindh, and Western 
Rajputana with Kaccha and Gujarat and a portion of the adjoining coast of 
the lower course of the NarmadS river.” 

See, also, Bthat Samhitd: Chapter XVI. 31, 32, .33: — 

“ I JIHI ii ” 

Jayamangala, the commentary on Vatsyayana’s Kamamtras locates ai'RRl and 
as under : — 

1 i si^r: i ” etc. 



Gujarat occupies an important part of western sea-board of India 
from Sindh to Bombay. The term ‘ Gujarat ’ is used in two different senses : 
first, to denote the mainland between Mount Abu and the river Damana- 
gaiiga along with Saurastra and Kaccha; and, secondly, in the much larger 
sense, Gujarat’s northern linguistic boundary touches the states of Sirohi 
and Marvad where MarvadI is spoken, and includes the districts of Thar 
and Parkar in Sindh, as also Kaccha. 

Gujarat generally represents the territories that actually comprised 
‘ Gujarat ’ from the Calukyan period to the period of the Maratha regime, 
as well as the territories known in earlier period under different names 
such as Anarta, Lata, Aparanta, Saurastra, Kaccha etc. These boundaries 
of Gujarat have been found varying throughout the course of history. 

Gujarat consists of regions, which in some respects are different from 
one another. They are : (i) North Gujarat, the mainland between Mount 
Abu and the river Mahl; (ii) South Gujarat, the mainland between the 
Mahl and the Damanagahga; (iii) The tract south of the Damanagahga 
up to multi-lingual island of Salsette and Bombay, where Gujarati is 
partially spoken; (iv) The peninsula of Saura?tra; and (v) Kaccha, which 
for cultural and literary purposes has always been regarded as part of 

In Gujarat the Palaeoliths have been found in the valleys of the 
rivers Sabarmati, Mahl and Narmada in the deposits of the Middle 
Pleistocene period (some 3,50,000 years old). Man was a hunter and food- 
gatherer throughout the duration of the Palaeolithic period, which was 
succeeded in Gujarat by the Microlithic period. However, a long gap 
(hiatus) is observed between these periods in the cliff sections of the 
Sabarmati, Mahl and Narmada. The evidence of this ‘hiatus’ was furnished 
by the stratigraphy of the Sabarmati valley. Subsequent researches disclosed 
a peculiar industry of stone-tools consisting chiefly of the tiny blades, known 
as ‘microliths’, made of various siliceous stones (flint, chert, agate etc.) from 
the layers ascribed to the ‘ hiatus ’. This microlithic blade-industry, char- 
acterising a distinct cultural phase, transitional between the Palaeolithic 
and the Neolithic, is termed the ‘ Mesolithic '. A large number of microlithic 
sites have been found in Gujarat, Saurastra and Kaccha. The microlithic 
tradition of manufacturing stone-implements seems to have survived in 
India more or less to about 1000 B. C., in a way mixed with the cultures 
of the Copper and Bronze ages, also called the Chalcolithic period, to which 
period the well-known prehistoric civilizations of the Indus Valley 
belong. The diggings at the early historic sites of Amrell, Kamrej, and Intva 
(Junagadh) have not yielded microlithic layers. It is maintained that in 



Gujarat and Central India, the microlithic culture does not possibly belong 
to a period later than 1000 B. C.‘ 

The recent discovery of Harappan sites in Kaccha and excavations 
at Lothal (five miles from Dholka) and Rahgpura (eight miles from 
Dhandhuka)have proved that there was a wide dispersion of Harappa culture 
in Gujarat and Saura^tra. This has filled the gap in the chronology of 
Western India from the end of the Indus Valley civilization to the beginning 
of the Buddhist Period. Unlike at Harappa and Mohen-jo-daro, the 
Harappan culture died a natural death in Saurastra, and along the Western 
Coast, after surviving here for a longer period upto 1100 B. C., evolved 
a new culture through gradual change, owing to its isolation. This is the 
post-Harappan culture which, in its last days by 700 B. C., came in 
contact with a Chalcolithic culture of the pre-Buddhist period (pre-NBP), 
dated between 700 and 1000 B. C. at Mahesvara. Thus a devolution and 
not a sudden disappearance of the Harappan culture is in evidence. The 
maritime route taken by Harappans to Sauras(ra has been mentioned in 
“Indian Archaeology — A Review : 1954-55 

In the proto-historic times. North Gujarat was called Anarta, after 
the name of king Anarta, son of Vaivasvata Manu. The Mdhabhdrata 
treats Saurastra as included in Anarta; its original capital was Kusasthall, 
believed to have been destroyed by the Punyajana Raksasas, who were 
identified with the Panikas of the Vedas and the pre-historic Phoenicians. 

In mythic times, what is Gujarat and Malava now, were occupied by 
a federation of tribes called Haihaya Talajahghas and their conqueror 
Sahasrarjuna has been considered one of the earliest Emperors in traditional 
history. Apart, therefore, from the aborigines, styled Nagas, this region 
might have been occupied by homogeneous tribes of the swarm of Aryans 
that first entered India, known as the Outer-band of Aryans, and the 
Yadavas, allied to the Haihayas, were possibly the first Inner-band Aryans 
who migrated to Saurastra. 

The Baudhdyana Dharma Sutras include Anarta among those impure 
countries to which an Aryan was forbidden to go. But all the same, it does 
not appear to be an unimportant region. Its later capital, Anandapura 
or Anartapura (modern Vadnagar), was a city of great learning and 
importance and continued to be so till about the tenth century. Anarta, 
however, formed part of the empires of the Mauryas, Indo-Greeks, of the 
Saka Ksatrapas and of the Guptas. On the decline of the Gupta empire, 
Anarta formed part of the kingdom of Valabhipura. In the seventh 

3* Dr. B. Subbarao : Baroda through the Ages, (1953), p. 106. 



century Saura^tra, Anarta and the region between the Sarasvatl and the 
Narmada, then called Malava, formed part first of the kingdom of Valahhi 
and later that of Bhillamala or Srimala, near Mount Abu, which was the 

From about the end of the eighth century Anarta with Saurastra and 
south Gujarat up to Kim, formed part of the empire of Imperial Pratiharas. 
When in 940 A. D. the empire of Kanauj broke up, Mularaja established 
himself in the principality of Anahilvad Patan. After Siddharaja, the words 
‘ Gurjara-Mandala ’, ‘ Gurjara-Bhumi and ‘ Gurjara-Desa ’ came to be applied 
to whatever territory which Calukyas claimed as their domain. In 1141 A. D. 
Gurjara-Desa included Dohad; but parts of South Gujarat were merged in 
Gurjara-Desa after the conquests of Siddharaja and Kumarapala, and were 
generally called by that name. The original Anarta that was first included 
in the kingdom of the Gurjaras, however, remained in the popular mind as 
Gujarat proper. 

The territory of Anarta roughly corresponds with the PaschaddeSa 
of Rajasekhara*, which he placed to the west of Devasabha (possibly 
Aravalli Mountain) and included within it the Janapadas of Saurastra, 
Daseraka, Travana, Bhrigukaccha, Kacchlya, Anarta, and Arbuda. This 
‘ Paschaddesa ’ would seem to include the territory from Abu upto Nasik, 
including Saura$tra and Kaccha, which practically covers the modern 
Gujarati-speaking area.* 

Saurastea had a long proto-historic past. In a remote period, before 
the Himalayas rose in the place of an ocean and when its present rivers were 
being formed. Early Man wandered on their banks. Possibly the Dublas, 
Minas, Dhedias, Caudharas, Varlis, Katkarls who inhabit the triangle South 
of the Narmada between the sea and the ghats, are the descendants of these 
dark-skinned and stunted people. The Kolls, whose ancient habitat was in 
Gujarat and Saurastra, are possibly the descendants of another race of early 
men who lived here in the Stone age. 

The so-called Indus Civilization (3500-2750 B.C.) was not restricted to 
the valley of the Sindhu. There is definite evidence that it also extended to 
Sindhu, Saurastra and the region of the Narmada and the Tapi." It was at 
the ports of Broach and Cambay that the carnelian industry in India appears 
to have concentrated. The western coastal region of the Indian peninsula, 
Saura^ti^a, the valleys of the North-West Frontier Province, Sindh, the Pun- 

4. Kdvyamimdrhsd, 93. 

5. For details, see Dr. K. M. Munshi, Gujardt and Its Literature, (1934), p. XV. 

6. Dikshit Pre-historlc Civilization of the Indue Valley, p, 12. 



jab, the upper Doab, if not the whole of the Gangetic and the habitable parts 
of Rajputand were thus comprised within the limits of a civilization which 
can approximately be called ‘Proto-Indian*. 

Saurastra is a very ancient name, though the much more ancient nune 
is Kusavarta. The Rathikas lived in Saurai^tra during the days of Asoka; 
possibly the original Prakrit of the word was Radda or Rattha which perhaps 
survives in the name of Reddis, Rathors, Sorath and Maratha. It is more than 
likely that the words Anarta, Saurastra, Makdrd?tra are the Sanskritised 
names of the three regions of Anarttha, Su-rattha, and Maha-rattha.' 

Suras^a is also referred to in the Epics, the Puranas and classical 
Sanskrit literature, as also by foreigners like Strabo, Pliny, Ptolemy, Periplus 
and Hiuen Tsang. The Marathas gave Saura^t^a the name of the tribe 
(Kathis) which offered them the greatest resistance. On the integration of 
Kathiawad to Free India (1947), the old name of Saurastra was restored. 

In the Calukyan period, Saurastra was included in 'Gurjarabhumi ’ and 
so was it under the Sultanate of Gujarat and under the Mughal Empire as 
* Sorath Sarkar after Akbar conquered it. It was only during the British 
period that Saurastra was detached from the mainland, and the jurisdiction 
of several rulers, big and small, came to be recognised. 

Kaccha has always been known by that name; and, though politically 
separate, its fortunes have invariably been linked with those of Gujarat; and, 
for cultinral and literary purposes, it has always been regarded as part of 

Aparanta and north Kohkana, may or may not have been identical in 
the Mahabharaia age; but we learn from the Mahdbhdrata that Arjuna visited 
all the holy places in Aparanta upto Prabhasa’, which is in Saurafitra, sug- 
gesting that Aparanta stretched from Saurastra to Kohkapa. 

In Buddhist literature, we come across the name Sunaparanta* or 
simply Aparinta'". Sunaparanta was in Buddhist times a country on the 
western sea-board of India, of which the chief town was Surparaka, now 
known as Sopara. The people of this place were known to the preachers of 
early Buddhism as f^rce and rude; it was at Sopara that one set of rock- 
edicts of Asoka was set up. 

In the Junagadh rock-inscription", Mahaksatrapa Rudradaman (150 
A.D.) is described as the “lord of the east and west, Akar, Avanti, the 

7. K. M. Munshi, Gujarata and its Literature, Introduction xvii. 

8. Mahabh&rata, Adi Parva: 218, 1-2. 

9. Majjhima-Nikdya, III, 268; Sarhjutta-Nikaya, IV, 61. 

10. Dipavarhta, VIII, 7; Mahavamea, XII, 5; Samanta-v&eadika, /, 67. 

11. Epigraphia Indiea VIII, 44; Ibid., 60. 



Anupa, Anarta, Surastra, Svabhra, Maru, Kaccha, Sindhu-Sauvira, 
Kukura, Aparanta and Nisada^*. This Aparanta was conquered by Raghu, 
according to Kalidasa** by crossing the Sahya mountains. The Jayamangald 
commentary on the Kdmasutras also says that Aparanta was situated near 
the Western sea. 

Aparanta was also used to designate peoples or tribes. In the Mdr- 
kandeya Pwrdna", the following are called the people of Aparanta : Saurpa- 
rakas» Svapadas, Kurumins, Kalandas, Durgas, Anikatas, Pulindas, Nasikyas 
and Bharukacchas, the Maheyas, the Sarasvatas, the Kacchikas, Saura- 
stras, Avantyas and the Arbudas. 

The country south of Mahl or at times south of Narmada upto the 
Purna or as far as Daman was called Lata. In the second century A. D., 
Ptolemy referred to it as ‘ Larike mostly as a political division rather than 
a geographical one, and as such included in addition to the sea-board an ex- 
tensive, inland territory. Barygaza or Bharu-Kaccha meaning, ‘high 
coast-land* was its chief port. ‘Larike’, though obviously derived from Lata, 
Lata is first mentioned by name in the Mandasor inscription of Kumaragupta 
and Bandhuvarman (436 A. D.)*^ ; thereafter the name gradually became 
more common. 

Lata had its own language or dialect. Bhoja, the Paramara Emperor, 
in his Sarasvati-Kanthdbharana mentions that the people of Lata had their 
own language, which was a kind of Prakrt. But soon after the reign of 
Bhoja, Calukya Karna annexed Lata, and thereafter Lata became an integral 
part of the Solanki empire, which soon came to be known as ' Gurjarabhumi ’. 
Bhrgukaccha in Lata and Surparaka in Konkana were both associated 
with Parasurama, the descendant of the Sage Bhrgu. North Konkana remained 
unconquered till Kumarapala (1143-74) annexed North Konkana, and made 
it a province of his kingdom. His successors, however, retained their hold 
only over certain places along its coast. In 1310 Thana is stated to have been 
included in the kingdom of Gujarat, which was then governed by the 
viceroy of the Sultanate of Delhi. 

These three provinces— Lata, Anaria and Surastra were divided 
throughout the Christian era into several petty states, all differing from one 
another in interests and ideals as also in name, thus preventing the 
people from forming themselves into one compact society. 

Geographically, the proviiice of Gujarat extends from the south of 
Mount Abu to north of Thana, a long uninterrupted tract of land where 

12. Raghuvamsa, Sarga IV, Verses 52-53. 

13. Adh. LVII, Verses 50-52. 

14. Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, III. 81. 



Gujarati is spoken. Still, the three natural divisions, viz., (1) Peninsular 
Gujarat or Saura^tra, (2) North Gujarat or the mainland of Gujarut or 
between Mount Abu and the Mahi River, and (3) South Gujarat between 
the Mah! and the Daman-Gahga rivers, have preserved certain characteris- 
tics, peculiarly their own. f 

On the basis of the contours of the land three distinct culture-zones of 
Gujarat may be distinguished : (1) Kaccha is a low and arid region with a 
very thin rainfall. The people are hardy and calculative in their dealings 
but endowed with a rare spirit of enterprise and a wonderful gift for arts and 
for business organization. (2) Saurastra is a plateau in the centre, radially 
sloping to a narrow belt of coastal plains, with a moderate rainfall and a 
good forest cover. The people are hardy and hospitable; and have a long 
maritime as well as martial tradition. They are artistic and have a wealth of 
romantic and devotional folklore, yet were stamped as tricky and intriguing.” 
(3) The Coastal Gujarat with its northern extension falls into two 
sub-zones : North Gujarat, i.e., the country between Mount Abu and the 
Mahi river, is arid and merges gradually into the desert of Rajasthan. The 
people are simple, sober and practical in their outlook. In contrast, the 
people of the fertile river-plains of the Central and South Gujarat are soft 
and pleasure-loving.” They are also more sophisticated and vivacious in 
their outlook. Deccani and Dravidian influences are discernible in their 
speech, dress, and manners as one moves south, where Gujarat merges 
gradually into North Konkan. 

A fourth zone, comprising the highlands of Saurastra and the border 
lands in the east and south, where the population is almost wholly tribal, 
may also be distinguished. This region is undulating and fairly forested. 
The people are backward in material culture and illiterate, but hardy and 

t For further references, see ’Kavyamimdihsd’, Notes, on pp. 93-94 (G. O. 

Series, No. 1). • 

15. Vide, Navalram’s poem ‘Gujordt-nt Musdiari’ (A stroll in Gujarat) ; 

“ Wir, 

jftsr ^ ipwl <101 3R3ir, ^ *n«Rrr— ssigW® " 

16. Ibid. ; ijfr^ fTOfi? ^ ; 

'tra, 3j5i^o 

5^, OTT ft! 35i^i%o’' 



By virtue of a long coast-line with several convenient anchorages and 
by its proximity to the commercial and cultural routes to East Africa and 
Asia, Gujarat has been long exposed to the movements of peoples and to 
commercial and cultural contacts from these regions. From very early 
times, Gujarat had very extensive maritime activities. As early as Circa 
5th Century B. C. Porbandar, Mangrol and Veraval were all well-known 
ports. Further, the Calukya and Vaghela kings of Gujarat (942-1297) had 
maintained large fleets at Ghogha and at Khambhat (Cambay). 

The climate also, of these three divisions differs greatly. The forests 
and the heavy rainfall in South Gujarat contribute to the unhealthiness of 
the climate. In customs, manners and civilization, North Gujarat, Saurastra 
and Kaccha, preserve much that is old, while South Gujarat has been affected 
by outside influences and by settlers, primitive and civilized. In fact, in 
spite of the different natural divisions of Gujarat, with the different river- 
valleys and the varieties of soil, agriculture, people, customs, speech, and 
dress — each of these three presents a homogeneous Gujarat with common 
traditions and common culture.” 

Let us now see how and when the modern name ‘‘Gujarat** came to be 
applied to these territories. Up to the 10th century, ^^Curjara-mandala*' or 
"Gurjara-bhumi** hardly denoted territories comprising modern Gujarat. 
During the thirteenth century the whole of northern Gujarat was known as 
the ‘territory of the Gurjaras*, which is why Hemacandra describes the army 
of his Solanki patron Kumarapala as consisting of Gurjaras.*“ The Dohad 
inscription of 1140 A. D. speaks of Siddharaja Jayasiihha as the “Ruler of 
Gurjara Mandal**.^^ In the '^Somandtha Prasasii ”, dated G. E. 850, (i, e. 1168- 
69 A. D.), Kumarapala is called ‘King of Gurjara Mandala*, a name which 
Hemacandra also assigned to the country over which his patron ruled. The 
Girnar inscription dated 1222 A. D. enables us to conclude that the name 
‘Gurjara Mandala’ denoted territories wherein were situated the towns of 
Anahilwad or Pattan, Starhbhatirtha or Cambay, Darbhavati or Dabhoi and 
Dhavalakka or Dholka. Thus, when once the people came to be regarded as 
Gurjaras it was but the next step to call their country ‘Gurjara Mandala* or 
Gurj ara Ratta ’ or Gujarat. 

17. Cf. B.K. Thakore’s Presidential Address, History Section, 6th Gujarati Sahitya 

Parishad, Report, p. 6, fn. 

18. Prakirta '‘Kumarapala Carita'*, Sarga 6, Gdthd 65. 

19. “ i 

— Ind. Ant, Vol. X, p. 159. 



Southern Gujarat or Lata and Saurastra, however, came to be called 
‘Gujarat* only by the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th Century, 
and the cause thereof was neither geographical nor ethnical, but mainly 
political, the Muslims being chiefly responsible for it. 

The Mahomedans under Ulugh Khan first conquered Anahilpattan or 
Naharwala, and made it their provincial headquarters. Soon afterwards, 
they conquered and annexed Soratha and Southern Gujarat, which they 
governed from Naharwala. The Delhi Emperors grouped all these provinces 
together for purposes of administration : and as Naharwala continued, 
for more than a century, to be their capital and the headquarters of the 
Imperial Viceroy, the term “Gujarat** came to be extended to all these 
territories. Hence we find some Muslim writers including parts even of 
Khandesh and Malwa in Gujarat, the reason being that they were ‘governed 
by the Viceroy of Gujarat*. Thus, even though the boundaries of Gujarat 
Empire were not the same for all periods of history, yet the whole political 
and administrative unit was known as ^Gujarat*. 

The name Gujarat is popularly believed to have been derived from 
Gurjara Rdsfra through Gurjara Rattan rather on the strength of the false 
analogy furnished by the names Surdstra and Mahdrdstra^ than on strictly 
philological grounds. It appears from the Ghatial inscription of Sarhvat 916 
that the words denote the older habitations of the Gurjaras as 

known then. “Gujarat** as a corruption of 5^39^1 is perfectly regular and 
natural, and quite in accordance with phonetic rules. It means the land 
which protected the Gurjaras. 

The preservation of the feminine gender of the original in 

* Kdnhadade Prahandha *” (V. S. 1512) is an index to the correctness of the 
derivation suggested. Gujarat is feminine when the word Dhard or Bhumi 
implicitly follows it. Muta Nensi“ in his “Khydta**, writing about incidents 
of Gujarat history refers to it as follows 

Narmadashankar has ‘Garavl Gujardt *, Khabardar ^Gunavantl Guja- 
rdt ** and Umashankar ^ Mori Gujardt *. When, however, the word “ Desa ** 

20. Dr. A.B. Dhruva suggests that the word “Gujarat” may have been derived 
from “Gurjaratra” where ^T5T+5( would yields etc. For further details, con- 
sult his Presidential Address at the 9th Gujarati Sahitya Parishad (1929). 

21. « ^ qrer «iRraif i ^ ? ii ” 

22. A minister to Maharaja Jasvantsiihha of Jodhpur, from Saihvat 1714 to 1723. 



or “Man^ala” is implicit, the gender is necessarily masculine and neuter: as 
we have in ‘ Kitmdrtfpdlo Prahodha’ (V. S. 1241), and elsewhere." Such a 
country is Gujarat, with its diverse population, composed of Hindus, Jainas, 
Parsis, Muslims, Boharas and Christians, and going by the general name of 
‘ Gujaratis ’, as distinct from the population of other provinces of India. The 
Gujarat Sultans were styled 'Gujarati’, and so also several of the Gujarati 
painters at the ‘Royal Studio’ of Akbar at Delhi. What has Gujarat made 
of all these various peoples, and what have they made of Gujarat ? 

Three inquiries naturally arise concerning the influence of geographi- 
cal factors on the growth of Gujarat’s national character. The first relates 
to the external sihape or outline of the territory, and raises the question of 
the potentialities of the western coast-line. The second relates to the general 
sum of its resources — ^its hills and plateaus, its plains and valleys, the geology 
of its rocks, its flora and fauna, the chemistry of its soils, — and the bearing of 
these on the development of its agriculture and industry. The third relates 
to its climate, which leads to the questions of sunlight and temperature, and 
their effect on the bodies and minds of the Gujaratis. 

Owing to its isolation, the human stock of an island or a peninsula will 
be less mixed than a stock which is set in the midst of a continent and subject 
to frequent migrations; for the same reason, it will be more archaic in its 
character. Saurastra," however, although isolated, was neither secluded 
nor immune from outside attacks, and its history is one long tale of the con- 
quests, vicissitudes, feuds and alliances of the Rajaputs, who were its inhabi- 
tants from ancient times. The dynastic seats of ancient Gujarat are also in 
North and peninsular Gujarat, whether at Dwarka, Junagadh, Valabhipura, 
grimala, Vadnagar (Anartapura, Anandapura) , Panchasar, Apahilwad Patan, 
Dholka, Kaira (Khetakamapdala), Campaner', Idar or Ahmedabad. The 
southern capitals at Bharukaccha and Nandipurl were also known. Over and 
above these political vicissitudes, a strong current of religious culture had 
also swept over this otherwise isolated peninsula. 



Cf. Vallabhabhatt’s (18th Century) * Mahakdli-^no Garabo : 

"mm gsRwr ^ ^ ” 

So also Nanalal writes : 

**The physical features suggest that in tertiary and post-tertiary times it 
(Saura$tra) may once have been an island or a group of islands of a volcanic 
origin. ” 

— Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. VIII, p. 1. 



Due to this influx of men and ideas, as also to its extent of coast and 
the gate-way to the sea, the peninsular region has abounded in rich economic 
possibilities. The mainland has tended to encourage a life of pasturage and 
agriculture; and natural events and human inventions, as well as enterprise, 
had to co-operate before the people of Gujarat could become sea-farers. Thus 
the ancient trade of Gujarat ports with countries Far East points to its 
early civUization and culture. 

A long and exposed frontier is a constant source of danger** and 
breeds wariness, alertness and energy, zeal for battle and a grim deter- 
mination in the people. The need of a powerful and disciplined army and of 
a strong executive, free from the control of ordinary courts, is felt, and the 
constitution of that territory is moulded accordingly. In Gujarat absolute 
monarchy prevailed after the decadence of Hindu polity and Federal govern- 
ment, so long prevalent in Saurastra and Anarta in the 6th century — ^so also 
its foreign policy, and its relations with its neighbours, were moulded. 

The character of a society is, obviously, greatly affected by its locality. 
Flora, fauna and the distribution of minerals, especially the metals, have had 
a most important influence on human evolation. The discovery of metalsi 
and of methods of utilizing them, were literally epoch-making, as the terms 
‘ Iron Age ’, ‘ Bronze Age ’, etc., can prove. Less rare, but none the less 
important, is the presence of clay suitable for pottery; while the presence or 
absence of good timber or stone in a territory determines the character of 
its architecture, as well as the occupations of particular sections of society. 

Saurastra and Kaccha abound in minerals, and are particularly rich in 
building stone. The south-west coast and Zalawad, except the centre, 
abound in lime-stone, admirable for building purposes, of which the 
Porbandar and Dhrangadra varieties are -perhaps the best known. Doongri 
stone is the most used in Surat District, especially as metal for roads, 
and Songir or Motipura marbles are excellent for building. Blood-stones 
and agates are common near 'J'ankara in Morvi and at Jaghadia near 
Broach. Once upon a time they were sent to Cambay and made into 
ornaments, boxes, attd other articles. Some varieties of agate and moss- 
pebbles are found in the bed of the Majam river, about fifteen miles 
away from Kapadvanj. Cornelians are found within Rajpipla limits, 
on the left bank of the Narmada, about fourteen miles from 
Broach. Masiidi, an Arab traveller in India during the tenth century, 
mentions the discovery of emeralds, beautifully green and brilliant, 

25. Vide, ‘Chai^akya Sutras’ which lay down : “The one whose boundaries are 
close to ours must be taken for an enemy”: 5[F3; I 



near Cambay. There is a reference to the Cambay Agates trade 
in the word “Vaidurya”, meaning onyx, which is an old Sanskrit name 
for the territory stretching from the Narmada to Gokar^a.* The 
Revakantha also, is rich in building stone and agates and cornelians, for 
which, as some say, Rajpipla has been famous since the days of Ptolemy 
(150 A. D.). Akika (Arabic for agate) means primarily a river-bed; 
and is so called because it is found in river-beds and streams. These rough 
stones were sawed, chiselled and polished, after which they were made into 
“cornelian vessels and knife-handles”," 

Very rich iron ore is foimd in Godhra, Palanpur, and near 
Jambugho^a and Shivrajpur in Nirukot, where traces may still be found 
of old and disused iron-smelting works. The Panca Mahals are richer in 
minerals than the other districts. Their hills contain iron, lead, talc and man- 
ganese. The manganese mines which are being worked at present are situated 
in the same Shivrajpur and Pani hills; and the mould of iron slag on which 
the small Mission House stands, shows that at one time iron ore was smelted 
in the neighbourhood of Ghoga. In Saurastra iron used to be smelted both 
in Khambhalia and the Bar^a districts, and the remains of ancient smelting- 
furnaces are still to be seen near Naganath. Iron ore abounds throughout 
the northern portion of the peninsula as ferric oxide and in other forms. 
“Iron is found in Pargana Chakka (Surat Sarkar). Iron mines were 
worked in former times near the town of Kapadvanj. Heaps of refuse 
are still to be seen there. But after the import of foreign iron, native indus- 
try had come into disuse”. “In the fields of Naroda or Naharwala in 
Parangna Haveli, three Kos from the city of Patan, old iron-pieces called 
Mandor are found, which are used by Indian physicians as a cure for certain 
diseases”.** This fact of the discovery and general utilization of the mineral 
wealth of Gujarat denotes a high stage of culture to which it had attained 
in the past. 

Considerable tracts of land in Viramgam are covered with earth suited 
to the manufacture of salt-petre. There are deposits of gypsum in the Ranna 
and in parts of Bhal, and salt-petre can be obtained ip large quantities in 
Jhinjhuwada and its neighbourhood. “In the neighbourhood of Pargapa 
Badnagar gun-powder is prepared from the nitre there found.” “ The 
following reference* to export of salt-petre from Gujarat in the Mughal 

26. Ind. Ant., 1. 

27. Mirat-i-Ahmadi, Supplement. 

28 Mirat-i-Ahmadi, p. 210. 

29 Mirat-i-Ahniadi, p. 9. 

30. Vide, .Prof. Commisariat's “Bombay University Lectures” (Times of India, 
3rd October, .1928). 



times is worth noting : “It was mostly obtained at Mdlpur, a small town in 
the Mahikaptha Agency. It was in great demand in England, as it was an 
important ingredient in the manufacture of gun-powder. Being bulky in its 
raw state, salt-petre was refined by the English in their factory at Ahmeda- 
bad. Emperor Shah Jehan and his Viceroys in Gujarat often refused the 
European merchants permission either to purchase or to refine any salt-petre 
for export purposes, as they thought it politically inexpedient and likely to 
be used against their co-religionists in Europe or North Africa.” 

Sand, used for making mortar, is found in the Mahi, the Vatrak, the 
Mesvo and in the smaller water-courses. Near Kapadvanj, Lasimdra, Torpa, 
a white crust of impure carbonate of soda forms on the surface of low, 
broken ground. This earth is greatly utilised in making glass and soap,” and 
as a mordant in dyeing cloth. “Crystal” is found in Kapadvanj, and is made 
into decanters, flasks, etc., and bracelets for women. But its colour is green 
and it cannot be whitened.” Coarse soda, “Os” used in soap-making, is found 
in large quantities in the west of Prantij. A sort of earth found near 
Ghoga is sent to Bombay and used in making moulds in foundries. Patfan 
potteries'owe their fame to the loamy earth found in the neighbourhood. 

There are two mineral springs in Saurastra, one, a hot spring, at Tulsi 
gyama in Gir, reckoned one of the most sacred spots in the province; the 
other at Pipdaraka in Okhamandal. There are hot springs at Tuwa also, 
about ten miles west of Godhra. The water is considered sacred to Mahadeva; 
the place is studded with palm-trees and is adorned by a temple. Devaki 
Unai hot-springs in Vyara Mahal, of the former Baroda State, are also 
held to be sacred. 

“There are some select wells on the Kahkaria Tank in the Capital 
(Ahmedabad) ’’writes the author of Mirdt-i-Ahmadi, “wherein cotton-clothes, 
embroidery and satin if washed increase in lustre and colour. There is a 
pond called Kahkaria, near Bara Nainpur, where satin clothes are washed, 
and their colour improved. As the pond is dry in summer, water is drawn 
from adjacent well and poured into its bed, which being mixed with the 
mud of the bottom produces the same effect. ” This, regarded by the author 
of Mirdt-i-Ahmadi ds one of the “Wonders of Gujarat”, is clearly due to 
nothing else but the mineral quality of the bed of the pond. Ho says further 
that “in the neighbourhood of the town "Ona (Sarkar Sorath) there is 
a well named Sari, the water of which adds to the temper and sharpness of 
swords. The tJna swords are hence famous in the land. “Silver mines which 
the smelters secretly worked for themselves" in Kapadvanj,” writes the same 
author, “were afterwards left unworked. In the rainy season when the 

31. Cf. Dalpatram: “ «Hra qfS, *5^ wisf#.’ 



stream called Sonrekha, in Sorath, flows from Mount Jamil Shah, its sand 
yields gold.”" 

Till recently the Gujarat region was supposed to be deficient in mineral 
fuels like coal, petroleum, and natiural gas. But of late, due to the success* 
ful exploration activities of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, since 
1958, possibilities of the existence of rich deposits of various mineral 
fuels have been established. 

Occiurence of natural gas in some parts of Gujarat State, viz., Ghogha, 
Hazat, Baroda and Jagatia has been known for a long time. Recently, occur- 
rences of natural gas have been discovered at Lunej (near Cambay) and 
Mahuvej (near Anklesvar). At Lunej the gas occurs in association 
with petroleum, but in the latter area no oil has been found. At this stage, 
it is not possible to predict the extent of the richness of these natural gas 
occurrences. If sufficient gas be found this can be utilized for generating 
electrical energy for industrial cities like Ahmedabad and Baroda and the 
villages all round at a nominal cost. 

Prospects for petroleum too are quite encouraging. Drillings at Lunej, 
Sokhada and Malsonl near Cambay have indicated the occurrence of an oil- 
bearing structure of about 8 square miles. Several oil-bearing horizons exist 
between the depths of 1510 metres and 1710 metres. The discovery in June 
1961, of a rich oil-field in North Gujarat at Sertha, near Kalol, 15 miles from 
Ahmedabad is very promising. The oil was accompanied by gas wider high 
pressure. There are possibilities that more such oil-bearing structures 
exist in the Cambay area; some of them might even extend in the Gulf of 
Cambay. The results of the drilling at Cambay give reasons to hope that 
the oil-field is more extensive than has been indicated by the geophysical 

Drilling wells at Anklesvar in Broach district, too, have yielded 
succes.sf ul results. Drillings at Vaduchi and Hazat in that area have revealed 
a much bigger oil-bearing structure of about 20 sq. miles, and the oil found 
there appears to be of better quality than that of Cambay. In Anklesvar 
region, the oil-bearing horizon occurs at a depth of 1052 zpetres. 

Near Baroda, oil has been struck at very shallow depths. At Vadsar 
oil occurs at a depth of about 200 metres only and at Padmavatl Sanatorium 
in Baroda, it is found at about 300 metres only. Further details of these 
occurrences are not yet available. 

It is quite likely that the entire region between Surat and Ahmedabad 
may be oil-bearing. The finds in the Cambay and Anklesvar areas have 

32. Mir&t-i-Ahmedi, p. 211. 


already placed the State of Gujarat on the oil-map of India. Plans for more 
extensive exploration to establish the total reserves of oil and natural gas in 
this region have been drawn for the Third Five Year Plan period and the 
Government of India is already planning to establish a refinery of a suitable 
capacity at a suitable location to exploit the petroleum resources of Gujarat.* 

But we have spoken enough of the internal content of Gujarat. 

Now let us turn to something even more important — ^the flora and 
fauna of Gujarat. Animal life became a potent factor in civilization long before 
vegetable life did. It was divided into two groups— those useful to men, 
or domestic; and those injurious to them, or wild. Primitive people living 
on roots and fruits possessed hunting weapons and the domestication of 
animals was really the beginning of progress : a regular supply of milk 
solved, to some extent, the problem of food; and a far larger number of 
individuals could live together in a place where food was furnished by 
animals regularly bred and pastured by them. Thus a common food-supply 
was a uniting force which rendered possible a wider and more stable social 
life; and the necessity of union for the defence of herd-property drew men 
still closer together. 

Of the domesticated animals of the province of Gujarat, the most 
noteworthy are the cow, the buffalo, and the horse. The uses to which 
these animals are put depends on the people as well as the climatic and 
food conditions. In Western India, cattle are bred principally for the 
production of milk and butter. Cows are kept chiefly to produce draught 
cattle; and milk is largely obtained from buffaloes. In Gujarat as a whole, 
agricultural operations and the transport of goods by road depend mainly 
on the draught power of buUocks and buffaloes. The bullock herds of the 
Brinjaris, of whom Lakho Vanazaro, in Samalbhatt’s ^Bhadrd Bhdmini”^, 
is vividly typical, were the chief carriers of goods on land in mediaeval 
times, and have always been heroes of romance and mystery. Camels also 
were not unknown, as witness the glowing description in Premanand’s 
“Ahhimanyu Akhydna*"^ of one Rabari racing another to fetch a camel 
swift enough to takj Uttara to Abhimanyu before he left for the battle." 

* Dr. S. S. Merh’s Note on Geology and Mineral Resources; 66th Session Indian 
National Congress Souvenir, Bhavnagar, January, 1961, Part III ; ‘A Glimpse of 
Gujarat’, pp. 18-19. 

33. Vide, ‘Bvhat Kdvya Dohana’, Part III. 

34. Vide, ‘Prdclna Kdvyamdld’, No. XXX. ^ 

35. So also MirSbai, bidding adieu to her country is said to have uttered : 

“dismal! Rte i?nn>TR«i sni # # 

— srm smid ^ ” 



The finest cattle in India are bred in Northern Gujarat, in tracts of 
grassland which surround the Ran^a of Kaccha, and extend northwards into 
Rajaputana, the deep alluvial loamy soils of which are excellent for the rear- 
ing of young stock. Its arable fields, also, are as fertile as those in any part 
of India; and pulse crops are extensively cultivated, producing excellent 
fodder which is available when the grazing gets bare. 

Gujarat cattle, of which the best are known as ‘Kankareji’ or ‘Wadhiar’ 
cattle, of the old ‘Vrddhi Pathaka’, are the finest in India for agricultural 
purposes. They are both active and strong, swift in ordinary field work, 
and the pace at which they draw cumbersome heavy-laden carts through 
sandy road-ways is simply amazing. Forbes records that “Prince Karan of 
Mewar presented Emperor Jehangir, among the rarities and choice things, a 
pair of bullocks of Goozrat”.* Gujarat oxen were noted for their white 
colour, size and beauty. Abul-Fazl informs us that the cattle of Gujarat 
were considered to be the finest in India, and that a yoke of them was some- 
times worth 100 Mohurs, The best Gujarat oxen even exceeded swift 
horses in speed, for they could travel 100 miles in 24 hours. We learn from 
the Ain-uAkhari that Akbar once bought a pair of cows for a lakh of ddms 
or 5,000 rupees;** and also that Gujarat produced the best breed of camels, 
though Ajmer bred the swiftest and Thattha in Sindh the best for burden.'" 

The best Gujarat buffaloes known as Suratl, arc bred in the Kaira 
district and in the adjoining Baroda territory ; they yield upto 30 seers of 
milk a day. Jaffrabadi or Nagheri buffaloes are more popular than cows in 
the villages because of their greater hardiness and the superior richness of 
their milk ; but they are seldom kept by the higher classes of town people 
who regard the cow with a greater reverence than do the cultivators. The 
wealth of ancient India, which consisted of cattle, was known as ‘Go-dhana\ 
The Gir cows, nourished by rich grass and abundant water, are famous. 
They are bred in Sauras^ra, and their owners are chiefly professional 
herdsmen with the comparatively large herds. Bulls which are not required 
for stud purposes are either castrated early or sold young, and the young 
stock are allowed to roam healthily free. 


It is said that the full-grown buffaloes of Gir and Nagher will face 
a lion'”, which may kill one if it be alone, but never dares to attack if it be 

36. Rds Mala, II, Page 243, ( 1924 edition). 

37. Blochmann, Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. I, p. 140 and p. 143. 

38. Ibid., p. 143. 

39. Vide, Tribhuvan Vyas : Eulogy of ‘Sourdyfro Dhara'^i ' : — 

WF : 



one in herd. Immediately the buffaloes see a lion they form a semi-circle, 
and bellowing, attack him in a rush and drive him off. I reproduce here 
two stanzas from a CarapI song which will give an idea of this powerful 
animal : — 

“(The buffaloes) of a shining black hue, with horns ringed and twisted, 
with white udders full and heavy (with milk) have gone for grazing on hill 
and dale. These are very fond of their young ones, who allow milk to 
drizzle in torrents for them, the stream resembling the downpour of rain as 

it were — capable of filling even wells wherefor they are prized so 

. much for the sweet milk and butter they produce.’’" 

Horses of the well-known Kathiawad breed are still found in many 
parts of the peninsula. Veraval, during the rule both of the Ahmedabad 
Sultans and of the Mughal Emperors, was one of the chief ports to which 
Arab horses were brought for the Imperial stables; and it is likely that the 
local breeders managed to obtain some as they passed through the peninsula 
on their way to the Capital. Ahmedabad also was one of the best horse-breed- 
ing districts in the Presidency, because a great number of the KathI, Kabuli, 
SindhI, Kacchi, and Arab breed were reared by Kabuli merchants in 

The best horse-breeding district in the peninsula is Paftcal in the 
heart of the province" including Cotila, Paliad, Anandpu, Bhimora, and 
Jasdan. Favourable soil for the formation of the foot, hilly ground for the 
development of muscle, running streams of pure water, nourishing grasses, 
and a dry and hot climate render Pancal most suitable in every way for the 
breeding of horses. 

Well-bred Kathi and Kacchi mares have been famous since ancient 
times for their speed and agility," and so proud are the Kathis of their 

40. Vide, an old Caraoi song : — 

“ aiferoftg, wsitg 4tgar aiia 

MYl sta'lg, 51^ mfeg : 

41. Vide, ‘Ka^hiawa^i Duha’ (1928), edited by Gokuldas Raicura: — 

“ mm 5^ ^ <131 me : 

ws 3^, w <ihfe I ” 

42. Vide, ‘Saurastra Dhara^i ’ by Tribhuvan Vyas: 

“%^5Sl m«R{l, mmn mft, sqi : 

g3Wf m ^»iq?fl <l?l 



mares that the best animals are seldom for sale. Many a tale and ballad 
of Saurastra recoimis the marvellous deeds of mare and stallion in the 
troublous times when a man often owed his life to the strength and speed 
of his steed. 

Sora^h Sarkar also claims to produce excellent horses. Says Forbes : 
“The country of Sorath has always been one full of attraction for the Hindu; 
it is to him an Earthly Paradise, a land of clear rivers, of well-bred horses, 
of lovely women 

“In Sorath are jewels five : Horses, Rivers, Women : 

Somanath the fourth : Fifth Hari’s presence.”® 

Among the wild animals, the lion of the Gir forests is the most 
famous.® Gujarat is the only part of India where lions are to be found; 
formerly they abounded all over the peninsula and Gujarat.® The mane 
of the Gujarati lion is shorter, and its colour, resembling that of a camel, 
lighter than that of the African lion. It is called Sdvaj in Kathiawad, 
probably a name of Arabic origin, meaning “he who causes the flocks to 
bleat”.® A Sorathi woman urging her warrior to be “ a hero in strife”, 
compares him to a lion.® 

The tiger was always to be found in the beds or among the ravines 
of the Mahi. Tigers, lion and other big game were common in Abmedabad 
about the end of the 18th century.® Forbes observes : “Tigers were found 
in the desolate ground outside of the city-walls; and in the Dholka sub- 
division. Dense forests near the Sabarmati were the resorts of lions and 
tigers. Untia Wagh or the camel-coloured tiger was very common in high 
grass-fields. These tigers on the river-banks were doing much harm to 
cattle; and hence at the close of each day the 'inhabitants gathered their 
cattle within the village-walls.” Lion-hunts or tiger-hunts, and the scare 

43. 'Rata Mala' I, page 313 (1924 edition). There is another couplet re- 

counting the live best things of Sorath in a 13th century MSS. in the Oriental 
Institute, Baroda : — 

II ” 

44. Poet Nanalal refers to the lion of Sorath in the following line : 

“ 1^ first wpr, «fiS. ” 

45. Tribhuvan Vyas : “ ^ ! ” 

46. Borodo Gazetteer, Vol. I, p. 72. 

47. Poet NSnSlal : ‘Sorathiapi-nu Gita — 

“ BrW3I-51JT ^«t ^ ? ” 

48. *Oriental Memoirs* (1773 A. D.), Vol, III, 105. 



caused by these beasts, therefore, naturally figiure in the metrical Romances 
of Samalbhatt, as well as in the disputed Akhyanas of Premanand.* 

Even the elephant was not rare in Gujarat. Elephants from Aparanta 
or west coast, according to Kautilya’s Arthaiastra, were of middle size; while 
the Saura^tra elephants were of smaller size. As late as the 1 7th century 
(1616 and 1645) the Dohad (Pahca Mahals) forests were famous for their 
elephants. In 1616 Emperor Jehangir (1605*1627) came to Gujarat to 
hunt elephants in the Dohad forests; and in 1645 seventy-three elephants 
were caught in the Dohad-Campaner forests.'" 

The panther was found throughout the Surat district. In the days of 
the early Hindu settlements near the mouth of the river Mahi, wild anima ls 
were so numerous that a city on or near the site of Cambay once bore the 
title of Vyaghrapalli or ‘Tiger-town’. Gradually, as agriculture made 
for settled life, larger population and advanced arts, the wild animals in the 
forests became rare; and dogs, horses, sheep, cattle, goats and camels became 
parts of the pastoral life of the conquered and conquering peoples in 

The steppes of upper Gujarat furnish food for flocks; and a nomadic 
people — ^the Rabarls — inhabit them; rich plains in the river-valleys are 
utilized for growing all sorts of crops and evergreens. 

The influence of forests on the climate of Gujarat and on the fertility 
of its soil is very great. Forests form the head-works of Nature’s irrigation 
scheme in Gujarat; and any injury to them affects the regularity of its 
water-supply. In early times Saurastra was covered with dense forests. The 
Gir forests in the south and the Bar^a forests on the west coast are the 
densest, but they contain no valuable timber. Hence building-timber is 
imported into Bhavnagar and Jodia chiefly from Bulsar, Daman andDahanu 
and still more largely from the Malabar coast. The Dang forests, south 
of the Narmada and Tapi, supply the district with teak, black-wood, Kher 
(Acacia Catechu), Sadad and many other varieties of useful and diirable 

The Dang forests, with their fine supply of durable timber, not only 
encouraged the ship-building industry on the shores near Surat during the 
17th century, but also sent timber to other parts of Gujarat and Saurastra, 
either by land or by sea. Over and above this, forests were the best suppliers 

of medicinal herbs. The author of MiraUi-Ahmedl observes; “In the 


49. Vide, (0 by Samalbhatt: (Bffcot Kavya Dohana, Part III); 

(^) ‘iTRft ascribed to Premanand, (Prdctna Kouvomdid, No. 7). 

50. Bombay Gazetteer, Voh 1, p. 183. 



mountain of Rajpipli many herbs and drugs are found, especially, a drug 
from the tree called Ragatroda whose wood, when powdered, is a cure, like 
sandal-wood, for many diseases.” “Mount Gimar”, he adds, “abounds in 
a variety of vegetation, of which certain herbs are used in alchemy.” 

The soil of Gujarat is generally alluvial, except in the hilly parts of 
the province. It is roughly divided into (1) black or kali, (2) sandy loam, 
or Gorat and (3) that formed by the intermixture of the two, called 
Besar. ‘The black soil ploughs itself,’ and is likened to a sponge, 
because it retains much moisture. It is called ‘ Kanham ’ from the Sanskrit 
word Krsna (Bhumi) : Kanham : “ and in hot weather, the shrinkage due to 
evaporation creates fissures which are often several feet deep. Black soil 
of moderate depth affords good natural drainage, admits of well-irrigation 
and, if well-cultivated, produces all kinds of garden-crops, cotton specially. 
The soils of Surat and Broach are alluvial in nature. There are no river- 
courses in the red-surface soils, north of the Visvamitri river : so all the 
country south of it is black soil for a distance of forty miles, right down to the 
Narmada, and all the country to the north of it is red soil, light sandy loam. 

The red soil is of recent alluvial formation and is capable of producing 
all kinds of crops under intensive farming. The fertile tract between the 
Sabarmatl and the Mahl, specially, “may vie,” says Ranade, the historian of 
the Marathas, “ for hundreds of miles with the finest park of the nobles of 
England” (quoted by Forbes in ‘ Rdsamdla’) . The varieties of soil in different 
parts of the land, among other circumstances have formed distinct and 
well-marked regions known as Kanham, Corotar’®, Vdkal, Bhdl, Ndgher, 
Corydst, Atthdvisi, Curhvdl, Vadhidr, Vdgad, etc., each with its own 
special agriculture, population, ways, customs, speech, dress, etc. 

51. Cf. the popular couplet : — 

“ W'S’T err? =^1rTORr ^irc : 

ipjfl, % JTR.” 

AlsoNavalram : “An Excursion in Gujarat”: — 

% arng ?5T351 ^ : ( 

5iT?i m, ^ nral: 

— g3R:i%o >» 

52. Cf. Navalram’s observation of the characteristics of ‘ Carotar the administra- 
tive group of 104 villages, the latter part '£ata’ of the compound 
• Caturuttara-lata ’ being dropped : — 

“ arnr smnr % ^ : 

511^ qoi qofi q5?iqi5Sl, ^ ^ : 

— ^ gain&o” 



The difference between black soil country and red soil country is 
interesting. The former is very rich, but, strangely enough, the country 
where it predominates looks very much like a desert. No gleaming rivers 
break the monotony of the landscape, for their courses are, for the most 
part, nearly 30 or 40 feet deep, rendering their flowing waters invisible to the 
eye of the distant watcher. Scarcely a tree, and but few bushes, can be seen 
for miles, except for small clusters round scattered villages, glimmering 
mirage-like in the distance, or looking like islands in the midst of the ocean. 

With red surface soil, however, the appearance of the country changes, 
although still apparently level. It is cultivated from end to end; high hedges 
divide the field; and lofty trees sway in the breeze, obstructing the view on 
every side, so that villages, of which there are many, can be seen only when 

The land-approaches and gate-ways to India— the main channel for 
the flow of immigrants from Central Asian Steppes and Valleys into this 
golden land, as well as the narrow pathways for the commerce of bygone 
centuries — have been on the West and North-West. The various streams 
and rivulets in the country unite at length in one or the other of the three 
great arteries — the Sabarmatl, the Mahi and the Narmada — and eventually 
discharge their waters into the Gulf of Cambay. The Narmada and Tapi, 
unlike the other rivers of the peninsula which rise in the Western hills and 
flow eastwards, flow westwards, in comparatively deep and narrow valleys, 
to the Indian Ocean. 

The importance of rivers to the country has tended to invest them 
with a religious halo; and sacred rivers are numerous in Gujarat, from 
virgin Sarasvati, a bright and slender stream — to the mighty flood of adored 
Narmada. Next to the Ganges and Godavari, the Narmada ranks, per- 
haps, as a most sacred river in India. Innumerable shrines and temples 
adorn its banks, and tradition points to an age when it should supersede 
the Ganges itself in the power of this sanctifying agency. The banks of the 
Tapi, the Mahi, the Sabarmati and of many lesser streams are studded with 
holy places, and these rivers are celebrated in sacred Mdhatmyas, forming 
parts of the Skanda and other Puranas. 

In the Temperate Zone (wherein the Province of Gujarat is situated), 
there are no extremes of heat and cold; there is an abundance of fertile soil 
and a plentiful rainfall — all conditions favourable to the growth of good and 
useful vegetation — and an equable climate, which makes it impossible for 
men to work all the year round, and conduces greatly both to their develop- 
ment and to the welfare and progress of the society to which they belong. 



In mountainous country and elevated plateaus, as in the hiUy portions 
of Saurastra and Pahca Mahals and South Gujarat, extremes of heat and 
cold and the lack of fertile soil make large food-crops impossible; conse- 
quently, such districts have but a sparse and scattered population. River- 
valleys or plains that have, in the course of ages, been formed by the 
constant action of rain and streams, washing down the finer soil from 
higher regions, are generally the most fertile, and therefore, also the best 
populated, as also other parts of the province, where richness of soil, and 
abundant rainfall is heaviest in the southernmost district, diminishing 
as the monsoon-current travels northwards from the south, and a warm 
and temperate climate encourages a rapid growth of vegetation. 

The composition of air and the amount of moisture in a region is an 
important climatic factor ; because excessive dry heat is an enemy alike to 
vegetation and to population. Mountain races are hardier than dwellers in 
the plains. Moist heat is good for vegetation, but dry heat is healthier for 
man, producmg, as in Saura^t^a and Kaccha a sturdy, active, and prolific race. 
A 5th-century writer on climatology, however, has it that heat makes for 
indolence, slavery and polygamy, while damp cold has an entirely opposite 

Dwellers in valleys where the air is moist and oppressive, the wind 
hot and the water warm, are fairly well-made, but apt to be stunted, dark 
and fleshy.™ Inhabitants of high-level plains, windy and well-watered, are 
big in stature, but usually rather timid and mild of temper, as witness the 
dwellers on the main land of Gujarat. But in regions where the soil is bare, 
water scanty and the weather given to extremes of heat and cold, we find 
hard, well-built, sinewy men and women, alert, energetic and self-assertive, 
rather rough, yet artistic, and of a * martial ’ spirit." Such on the whole are 
the people of Saurastra, Kaccha, Marwad and Rajaputana. Audacity, love of 
adventure, a gay endurance, chivalry that often led to buccaneering, explora- 
tion, but too often due to greed : these are the characteristics of the enter- 
prismg Saurastrian. 

The sea, also, plays a great part in the history of man’s evolution. A 
rock-bound and surf-beaten coast has bred, in. the Indian mind, such a distaste 

53. Compare : the description of wealthy and fleshy Vaisyas ‘ * 

etc. given by Sodh^hal, a poet of Lata in the 11th century, in his “Vdaya- 
aundan-katha”. (G. O. Series XI, p. 20). 

54. In the former times, climatic and planetary influences used to be confused 
together, as is shown by the terms “Saturnine”, “Jovial”, “Mercurial”, “Martial" 
etc., applied to temperaments. 



for maritime activity, that Brahmanism actually laid a curse upon the ocean. 
India has been mostly exploited from without. There are records, however, 
which go to show that there were notable exceptions to this general rule; 
that Indians carried on an extensive sea-borne trade with Persia, Babylonia, 
Phoenicia and other countries, and that the Malaya Islands, Siam, Indo-China 
etc., were colonised by Indian mariners in ancient times. The colonisation of 
Siam and Java by enterprising Gujaratis will be dealt with in a subsequent 

In history the highlander is of a special interest by himself. It has 
happened in history that mountaineers were never great conquerors; and 
though they could defend their eyries with the bravery of disturbed eagles, 
if conclusions were forced between them and the plain-men, which happened 
more often than not, the hill-men were forced into submission. Hence it was 
that Mahmud Begda, the plain-dwelling Sultan of Ahmedabad succeeded in 
subduing the strong and stubbornly heroic kings of Campaner, Idar and 
Junagadh. It is surprising that inspite of his native sturdiness, energy and 
courage, the mountaineer, with the exception, perhaps, of the Swiss, has 
been less of a world-influence in politics than the plain-dweller. The ancient 
dynastic seats of the rulers of Gujarat and Sauras^ra were all on the high 
plains or on mountain sides. Moreover, the mountaineer naturally tends to 
predatoriness (the Kathls, the Kolis, and the Marathas arc instances in point) 
on the plain-dweller, but can seldom hold his own against them for long, 
being always outnumbered by them. 

The plains of Gujarat, with their rather enervating climate, induce 
lassitude, while the fertility of the land precludes all nece.ssity for strenuous 
labour, thus encouraging a mental lethargy and an easy-going .slackness, 

55. See, Dr. R. K. Mukerji’s History oj Indian Shipping, p. 192. 

Chapter 2 


1. Race 

T he physical life and growth of a society depend on two factors : race 
and locality. A race is, as it were, a “social organism”, or a part of 
such organism. The locality is the physical environment in which this 
organism seeks development. The universe reserves no place for man : he 
has to make a place in it for himself. How he does this depends on the 
general character of the particular type to which he belongs— in other words, 
his “race”. The word “race” is applied to a large group of people who have 
the same general characteristics, physical, mental and spiritual, and are pos- 
sessed of certain peculiarities which distinguish them from other such 

Many racial groups are to be found within the borders of Gujarat. The 
basic people are Dravidians, who have been living in the country for untold 
ages, and who developed their physical characteristics locally. Successive 
hordes of Aryan, Scythian, Hunas, Mongol, Pathan and Mughal invaders 
came down from the north-west and their descendants are still to be found 
here, either pure in strain, or mixed with each other or with the Dravidians. 

The Aryans, so far as we are aware, were the first to come. They 
poured in from the North, and either conquered the original inlmbitants and 
converted them to their own religion (as was done with mediaeval Rolls or 
else drove them forth like the main body of the Bhils) from their homes in 
the plains to the surrounding hills and forests, whose very barrenness and 
inaccessibility ensured security from further persecution. 

They are still to be found in their primitive condition along the 
East Gujarat forest and hill-frontier, as also. in the rugged Mahikantha — 
where the Panch-Mahals stretch into the Malwa uplands— where they were 
driven by the conquering northern settlers. They are the “Kali-Paraj”, a 
name generally applied to the early tribes, including the aboriginal, in Guja- 
rat. Above the “Kali-Paraj”, are the Rolls, who come between the “Kali- 
Paraj” and the rest of the population, which is called, “Ojall Varpa”, or 
“bright-coloured”. They are half-Bhil, half-Hindu, and have, in some parts 
of the country, intermingled with the “Djall Var^a”. Of these, the largest 



and most respectable division is still called Talapada (Sanskrit 
or soil'born, corresponding to the "Nisadas” of the Rimayapa. The earliest 
traditional rulers of Gujarat were Bhils or Kolis, namely, Asha Bhil, the 
founder of Asaval — Ashapalli— the oldest site of the modern city of 
Ahmedabad— and Apahil, the local Bharavad or shepherd-chief, who helped 
Vanaraja to found the city of the same name. 

The appearance, food, dress, religion and customs of the early tribes 
have been but little affected by the Aryan stock. They believe in sorcery 
and witch-craft, worship the tiger-god, discarding Brahmanical gods and 
customs, and allow polygamy and widow re-marriage. Above the Kolis, 
again, lie the “Ojali Varpa”, preserving broadly the Brahmapa, Ksatriya and 
Vaisya divisions of the ancient Smrti Law-books, and hence supposed to re- 
present the Aryans. These Brahmapa, Vapia, Rajput, KapabI, Bard and 
craft-man classes worship Brahmanical gods, and follow Brahmanical 
customs and rituals. But in spiritual matters they manifest leanings to- 
wards a worship of the elements, trees and animals, nor are they free from a 
belief in demonology, sorcery, and witch-craft. Add to this the incorpora- 
tion of many aboriginal customs and we get a fair idea of the inner life of 
the members of the tJjali Varpa. 

The early Aryan settlements in Gujarat appear to have been chiefly 
along the coast, at Dwarka, Somanath Patan, Kodinar or Mula-Dwarka, 
Broach and Bitrparaka or Sopara. The oldest Pauranic legend concerning 
settlement in Gujarat is, in brief, that Raivata, the grandson of King Anarta, 
succeeded to the kingdom of Anarta, lost it, and fled. After a while he 
returned, and gave his daughter Revat! in marriage to Balarama. The 
Yadavas under Krspa, meanwhile, left their old capital Mathura" for 
various reasons, and settled in Dwarka, the capital of Anarta, defeating the 
‘demons’ (Asuras) who held the surrounding country. In the wake of divine 
personages and holy seers, who were supposed to have purified the Dasyu- 
polluted country by their godly presence and austerities, appear to have 
followed wave after wave of Aryan settlers from the Punjab by way of 

Prof. K. H. Dhruva. derives the word from a reduplication of two 

synonymous words : and H?. 

“Before Alexander arrived, the community of the State of the Phtala in the 
delta of the Indus had migrated to avoid submission. This preference for 
migration to submission was a settled practi 9 e amongst smaller Indian republics. 
The Vrspis, according to the Jatakas and the Mahabhirata, left Mathura and 
went to DwSrka when pressed by Jarasandha. The movements of the 6ibis 
from the Punjab to R&jputan&, and of the Mfilavas from the Punjab to MalwS 
were probably results of similar circumstances. K. P. Jayaswal’s Hindu Polity, 
Part 1, p. 77. 



Rajputana and the Aravalli-passes; these form a large majority of the tribes 
and castes of the modem Gujarat. In later times, another wave came from 
Bengal and the North-West by the Malwa-Dohad route, and also by a third 
route through the Cumval-Viramgam territory; these routes are best in- 
dicated by the temples of the three tutelary and most-worshipped God- 
desses of Gujarat on their outskirts : Amba Bhavani, at Mount Abu on the 
Aravalli route : KIdika, on Pavagadh hill on the Malwa-Dohad route, and 
Bahucara, guarding the Cumval-Viramgam route. 

Besides the Aryans, who came by land, a large number of foreigners 
— Persians, Arabs and Africans— came by sea, mostly through the ports of 
Saurastra, for purposes of shelter, trade and conquest; and during the 
centuries before and after the Christian era, hordes of Central Asian Kusapas, 
Hunas, and other tribes came to swell their numbers. These foreigners 
settled in the province, and became so mixed up with the Aryans that the 
Hindu Dharmasdstras considered it as a “Mleckha" country. The Maha- 
bharata (Anufdsana Parva) mentions the Latas, a Ksatriya tribe which had 
been outcaste through seeing no Brahmins, and as being no better than 
the thieving Bahikas and the robber Surastras. 

The Dharmasastra text’ where the Yavanas are placed to the West 
of Bharatavarsa, runs as follows : — “He who goes to Ahga, Vaiiga, Kalihga, 
Sura^tra or Magadha, unless it be for pilgrimage, deserves to go through a 
fresh purification.” Also, the fact that Asoka (B.C. 230) chose a Yavan Thera 
named Dhamma-rakkhito to act as Buddhist Missionary for the Western Sea- 
board,’ indicates a preponderance of the foreign element in these parts. One 
of the foreign (and not necessarily non- Aryan) tribes known as ' Gurjaras, 
passing into India from the North-West, gradually spread as far south as 
Gujarat. This foreign element has permeated the Rajaput and Kanabi popu- 
lation; and infusion of foreign blood has taken place in all the Aryan classes 
in Gujarat. The foreigners were either absorbed by the existing castes, or 
formed new castes of their own.’ 

The once holy land of Gujarat thus became a land of strangers; but 
it regained its ancient honour with the gradual absorpti<on of the stranger 
in the Hindu population between the fifth and the thirteenth centuries. 
Buddhism was the first to draw these foreigners into its fold; it succeeded 
in converting the Yavanas, Pahlavas, Sakas, Kulanas and Kedaras, who 
conquered Western India from about B. C. 250 to 400 A. D. The Jainas, 

3. ViJ9U Purd‘i!4t, II. 37. 

4. See, History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. I, p. 76, by C. V. Vaidya. 

5. See, Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IX, I, xii. Also see, the History of the Gurjara-Prati- 
hdras, Dr. Baij Nath Puri (1960), 



also, like the Buddhists, had no objection to admitting foreigners to the 
highest places in their commimity. The next stage in the vast asgim i jat ion 
began with the fifth century, when the various sections of the white HQnas, 
such as the Gurjaras, Mihiras, etc., and, in the sixth and seventh centuries, 
the immigrant * Turk ’ in tribes aided the Brahmins to regain their long-lost 
ascendancy over Buddhism. They were rewarded, not only by being admit- 
ted to the highest positions and honours amongst Brahmanic Hindus, but, 
by marriage and adoption, were actually incorporated into the fabric of 
Brahmanic society. 

The Brahmins had other ways besides this, of increasing their num- 
bers, as, for instance, the practice of indiscriminate procreation among 
ascetic Brahmins.' Also, it is known that the Saka or Parthian Nahapana 
(150 A. D.) had presented women of his palace, probably Greek girls, to 
Brahmins as wives.' As late as 950 A. D., Ihn Khurdadbd states that 
Brahmapas t<|pk the daughters of Ksatriyas in marriage; but Alber&pi 
(1030 A. D.) says that in his time Brahmins never married out of their own 

The great influx of strangers during the centuries just after Christ 
affected the position of Brahmins in many ways. The priests among the new- 
comers, also physicians, were accepted as Brahmins, because of their astro- 
logical and medical skill. During the Scythian ascendancy (B. C. 100 to 
700 A. D.) the priests and magicians of the conquering peoples were accepted 
as Brahmins, and thereafter introduced certain new elements into the wor- 
ship of the Sun, Siva and Sakti.’ Kalhapa (1148 A. D,), the author of 
Adjatarangipf, himself a Saiva Brfthmin, speaks of the priests of Nfigas as 
Brihmins, and of Astika, a leading NIga Chief as the best of Brihmlns. 
Two well-known instances of outsiders who were accepted as Brihmins are 
the priests of the Bihikas, apparently the Sakas of the second or first cen- 
tury B. C., and the priests of the Mihiras or White Htipas in the late fifth and 
the sixth centuries, A. D." The Anavib of South Gujarat are a different 
type of Brahmins. Once connected with the Scythian invaders, they came 

6. See Megaathenes, (B. C. 300). 

7. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IX. 

8. The divisions into (full), WF (half), and or (quarter) marks, 

according to the writer in the Rdjaputdnd Gazetteer (Vol. I, p. 71), the proportion 
of the intermixture of the Brahmins, BanilLs and the lower classes with the 
Rajaput foreigners in Gujarat. (one-eighth) group is also known. 

9. Vide, Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IX, Appendix A, p. 438. 

10. These ‘Mihira* Brahmins or later Magis or Persian priests seem to have started 
either the worship of the Sun and 6iva combined, or a simple Sun-worship, as 
at Mult&n, Dwarka and Somanath. 



from local non-Brahmin classes who were chosen by the northern invaders 
to be their teachers and priests." Again, the northern new-comers took 
large numbers of Brahmins along with them in their wanderings.”^ 
In the tenth century Mularaja invited thousands of Brahmins, mostly from 
the north (Udichi) and made them settle in Gujarat, giving them villages as 
gifts.” Inscriptions show that foreigners of ordinary social status were also 
accepted as Hindus.^ 

Siddharaja Jayasiihha (1094-1143 A. D.) conquered (in 1140) 
the Bhuta or demon Barbara, the leader of the Mlecchas or foreigners”" 
who served the Gujarat king like any other Rajaput vassal. His followers 
were forcibly converted to Hinduism; and intermingling of these various 
peoples created the Barbaria element in the Kathi tribes of South-East 
Saurastra. Fifty years later (1178 A. D.), the surrender of the bulk of 
Shahbuddin Ghori’s army in the ravines of Abu gave the Gujarat king 
Mularaja 11*" (1177-79 A. D.) a rare opportunity of convertijig Musalmans 
to Hinduism.*' 

The Mahomedans who forced their way into Gujarat came to conquer, 
not to settle. They retained their alien ways and alien religion, keeping 
aloof from the Hindus, going their own ways in all things. They had no 
desire to colonise, like the early Aryans, nor did they seek a quiet retreat 
like the Parsis in Gujarat or the Bene Israels in the South. They attempted 
to replace the image-worship and polytheism of the Hindus by the austere 
and uncompromising mono-theism of Islam. Everywhere the conquering 
Musalman came to grips with the meek but tenacious Hindu, deep-rooted 
in the soil, conquering his conquerors by, so to speak, absorbing them 

11. For the myth about Anaval Brahmins of Southern Gujarat, see, Baroda Gazet- 
teer, Vol. I, p. 173. 

12. The sister of Jayadratha is said to have brought 50.000 Brahmins to teach 
Hinduism to the Jatas and Me^s of Sindh. 

13. Notes on Rdsa-Mdld by D. B. Prof. K. H. Dhruva, published, Buddhi-prakdsa, 
November, 1927. 

14. Rudradaman’s Pahlava Engineer (150 A. D.) at Junagadh has a Sanskritised 
personal name, Suvisakha, while his father’s name, Kulaipa, is foreign. 

15. Which is why a copper-plate of Saihvat 1066 calls him ‘Barboraka-Ji?tiu\ 

16. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. VIII (K&thiawad) takes note of this event with some 
difference in details (p. 192). For detailed description of another conversion as 
given by the author of Mirdt-i-Ahmadi, see the paper by D. B. K. M. Jhaveri on 

9th Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, published in ^ 

Monthly, January 1929. 

17. See, Ratjehhodji Diwan’s Tdrikh-i-Sorafh and Bay ley’s Gujardf, page 35, Note. 



From the middle of the seventh to the end of the eighteenth century 
foreign Musalmans continued to percolate into Gujarat. First came the 
Arabs, the sailors and soldiers of the Bagdad fleets sent in the seventh, eighth 
and ninth centuries to plunder and conquer the Gujarat coasts. Next came 
traders, mostly from the Persian Gulf, during the ninth and tenth centuries, 
and settled in considerable numbers in the chief cities of Gujarat, where 
they were welcomed by the Rajaput kings of Anahilwad, shown great 
consideration, allowed to manage their own affairs, and to practise their 
religion and build mosques.*® They were followed from the north, by 
Mahmud Gaznavi (1025 A,D.) and Kutub-uddin Aibak (1094 A. D.) in the 
11th and 12th centuries. They all came, but none settled in Gujarat until 
its final conquest by Alaf Khan in 1297 A. D.*® 

From the end of the thirteenth to the end of the seventeenth century, 
foreign Musalman adventurers in search of military service,® traders, 
refugees and slaves came pouring into Gujarat both by land and by sea^ 
from Central Asia, Persia and Khurasan, and many foreign Musalman 
families used to settle in Gujarat on their return from the holy pilgrimage.” 

The arrival from Yaman in Arabia, of the religious head of the Shiah 
trading Bohras towards the close of the 11th century; the establishment of 
the Sidls of Janjira at Surat as admirals of the Mughal fleet about the middle 
of the 17th century; and the influx of Arab mercenaries and of several bands 
of Persian political refugees during the 18th century, also added considera- 
bly to the Muslim population of the province. The Arab mercenaries were 
the most unruly; in fact, they were the only obstacle to the complete estab- 
lishment of British influence in Gujarat in 1802 A. D. Their defeat at Baroda 
(1802, December 26th) brought their power to an end. Thereafter having 
settled down to peaceful pursuits, they, were absorbed in the general fold 
of the Muslims. 

18. Siddharaja (1094-1143 A.D.) actually set up an inquiry regarding a reported 
attack on some Musalman traders in Cambay, punished the Hindus, and gave 
the Musalmans money enough to build a new mosque. 

19. (1300 A. D.) Vide Prof. Diskalkar's article in Buddhiprakdsa (1926): published, 
8th Gujarati Literary Conference Report, held in Bombay (1926) at pages 
549, 554. 

20. In 1531 A. D. Sultan Bahadur had Turks and Abyssinians in his army (Bird’s 
Gujarat p. 272), and Habshis and Afghans were among the Gujarat troops 
that opposed Emperor Akbar in 1572 A. D. The Cavalry, according to Barbosa, 
which visited Gujarat in 1514 A. D consiste'd of Turks, Mameluke.s, Arabs, Per- 
sians, Khurasanis, and Turkomans; others came from Delhi and some belonged 
to Gujarat. Most of these came single, and were absorbed into the Musalman 

21. See, Mirdt-i-Ahmadi, re : Sheikh Ahmed Khattu of Sarkhez. 



Over and above the political and commercial interests that attracted 
these foreigners to Gujarat, was their missionary zeal, death being some* 
times offered by them as the only alternative to the acceptance of Islm; 
while sometimes persuasion on their part and motives of self-interest on the 
part of the Hindus did the business. In short, the Muslims came to Gujarat, 
and came to stay." 

The other immigrants who first found a home in Gujarat and in the 
North Kohkan were the Parsis. They are believed to have arrived about 
the end of the 8th century. They landed first at Div, then at Cambay, and 
subsequently near Sanjan, to the north of modern Daman in 936 A. D. 
The Parsis made a judicious compromise, retaining their own religion, and 
accepting the external customs of the Hindus; so there arose no occasion for 
a conflict. (Hodivala, Studies in Pdrsi History, 1920, p. 74) 

II. Caste 

The institution of caste (a word originally derived by the Portuguese 
from the Latin castus or purity of blood) is a peculiar feature of the 
Indian social organisation; and “Gujarat is pre-eminently a land of sub- 
castes’’.” In no part of India are the sub-divisions of communities so minute, 
either in theory or in practice. 

The history of the development of the caste system in India, in brief, 
would be like this : the race being the same, caste, in ancient times among 
the Aryans, had an occupational significance. Hence Brahmins often mar- 
ried K?atrlya wives, and in the earliest times their progeny was treated as 
belonging to the Brihmin caste. By degrees, however, caste rules became 
more rigid, and the offspring of such unions was treated as being intermediate 
between Brihmlns and K$atriyas. Later on, during the 6th century A. D., 
the progeny followed the caste of the mother. Lastly, from about the eighth 
or ninth century onwards, marriage was restricted to the same caste only. 

According to early Smrtis, a Brahmin could marry the daughter of a 
Ksatriya, and a Ksatriya the daughter of a Vaisya. Formerly, according to 
Manu Smrti, Brahmins could marry Ksatriya, Vaisya and Sudra wives; but 
in the ninth and tenth centuries, the marriage of a Sudra woman with a Brah- 
min, or, indeed, with any one belonging to the higher castes, was prohibited, 
as Vyasa Smrti lays down about that period g 

22. Abdullah (founder of sect of the Shiah Bohras in Gujarat), Khwaja Moinuddin 
Cishti, Saiyad Mahammad Jaunpuri, are some of the most notable Muslim 

23. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IX, Part I, p. xii. 



Another rule laid down by the above Smrti text made it compulsory for 
a Brahmin first to marry a woman from his own caste; and then to marry 
a lower caste woman." The Brahmins married K$atriya wives as late as the 
tenth century A. D.*‘ Such marriages were feasible, it must be borne in 
mind, because the food of the three higher classes was still the same. 

As with marriages, so with occupations. The Brahmins were at liberty 
to take to the occupations of the lower castes in addition to their own 
peculiar profession, viz. of priestly duties and learning" in which they were 
still paramount. They were mostly soldiers and Government officers. The 
K^atriyas were usually proficient in warfare, but there were some Ksatriyas 
who were devoted to letters also. The Rajaputs of those days, both king and 
commoner, were usually men of education, men who knew the Vedic Man- 
tras and had learned the Sastras, like the Valabhi kings of Eastern Saura^tra.” 

It was probably after the ninth century that the first two higher classes 
took to agriculture. Whereas in mediaeval times, only Vaisyas were agricul- 
turists, they now ceased to be so altogether; and the Brahmins and Ksatriyas 
took to agriculture along with the Sudras, who now were the principal culti- 
vators." According to Buddhist, Jaina and Hindu sentiment, agriculture 
is sinful, because it involves the destruction of insect-life. The Vaisyas, 
becoming Buddhist, abstained from the profession altogether, and left it to 
the Sudras. When Buddhism was supplanted by Hinduism, the first two 
classes, lacking other occupation, stooped to cultivate. They probably found 
it difficult to reconcile their new occupation with their religious sentiments; 

24. Cf. Verses as quoted by C. V. Vaidya in Meiiatval Hindu India, Vol. 11, p. 179 

‘‘ wOTt tf wi 

ST ii 

wt WRT ^ 5jHW I 

25. As witness Rajasekhara, who had married a Cahaman lady, by name Avanti- 
sundarl. Vide, Ka^ura-Maiijari, Vol. I, p. 11. 

26. See, Elliot I, pp. 6 and 10. 

27. “Some Unpublished Valabhi Inscriptions'* (1924) by D. B. Diskalkar, Watson 
Museum, Rajkot. 

28. The provisions are : — 

“I will detail hereafter the work and duty of men in the Kali Age, which is 
common and possible to all the four Vardas : The Brahmin who performs the 
six duties assigned to him, may also do the work of cultivation; but he should 
not yoke a bullock when thirsty, hungry, or tired. He should cultivate half 
the day and then bathe and then perform the sacrifices enjoined, with corn 
produced by himself in his own field.'* 



but the Pardsara SmTti came to their rescue. A compromise was effected. 
The sin of agriculture was admitted; but one could be free from it by 
‘ Khala Sacrifice \ i. e., gifts to Brahmins at the barn. The same permission 
was granted to the Ksatriyas also : “A Ksatriya may also, similarly,, cul- 
tivate and worship Gods and Brahmins. So also, a Vaisya and a Sudra may 
follow either agriculture, trade or some handicraft.^’ Agriculture thus 
became permissible for all the four Varnas, and the Ksatriyas came to be 
split up into two classes, the Rajaputs, i. e., the Kings and Rulers, and 
ordinary Cultivators and Landholders.® 

As with agriculture, so with the profession of arms. The Brahmins 
and the Vaisyas were, under liberal Law-givers, allowed to share that voca- 
tion with the Ksatriyas. Manu had laid down that Dvijas may use arms 
only to defend religion;® but Vasistha went fiurther, and permitted them 
to take up arms in self-defence also.” So also, Brahmins were allowed by 
Smrti law to take to trade, when in adversity; but they were not to sell 
certain things. It appears that caste was not made into dead convention : 
but was a guiding force in society, with elastic rules to deal with changing 
occupations, which were not held to be hereditary, and hence were “transfer- 

In the next two centuries there arose another cause for the division of 
Hindu society into semi-castes, and sub-semi-castes : namely, the question 
of food and interdining among the various castes. Not only were the 
Brahmins total abstainers from all intoxicating liquors, but even the Ksatri- 
yas likewise, especially their kings were so."“ Secondly, abstention from 
flesh was gradually gaining ground all over the country. Brahmins generally 
abstained from eating flesh, although there were, and still are, exceptions to 
these rules, as, for instance, some of the Northern and Bengali Brahmin sub- 
castes. As a rule, however, there was a general prohibition to kill or to eat 
flesh, which extended to even the Ksatriyas and the Vaisyas. 

The Candalas alone did not observe this prohibition, and became out- 
castes. They were compelled to live outside the towms and villages; and, 
while walking in town-streets, were to be careful, not only not to touch the 

29. See, Ibn Khurdadba (950 A. D.;. 

30. ‘ wr i ’ 

31. 1 i ii’ 

32. A1 Masudi writes: “The Hindus abstain from drinking wine, and censure 
those who consume it. If it can be proved that he has drunk wine, he forfeits 
the crown, for he is not considered able to rule as his mind is affected.” 

— Elliot, I, p. 20. 



other Hindus, but not even to throw their shadows upon them. The treat- 
ment of these out-castes was in accordance with the Hindu sentiment; but the 
Muslims, whose religion did not prohibit them from eating flesh, had no such 
objection, and they gladly took these “untouchables’’ into the fold of Islam. 
This estranged the Hindu mind from the Muslim foreigners from the very 
time that they first set foot in Gujarat. Barriers were set up and caste- 
distinction became more rigid than ever.*’ 

As regards interdining, the various castes had no objection to eating 
with one another and the privilege was extended even to some of the higher 
grades of the Sudra population."” 

This wholesome and unifying inter-dining among the various castes 
was possible only because food of the people was still the same. Things, 
however, changed completely during the next two centuries owing to the re- 
crudescence of the doctrine of Ahirhsd, especially in Gujarat under the 
teachings of Hemacarya; and many castes gave up non-vegetarian food. 

The Brahmins even until 1075 A. D. were distinguished by their Gotras 
and Sdkhds only, as is clear from the Dhamdachha grant of Durlabharaja/' 
Later on, however, we begin to find mention of the Brahmins’ place of 
residence also. (Kumarapala’s ‘ Prasasti ’ at Vadnagar mentions the writer 
as a ^Ndgara Brdhrnana^ in Samvat 1206, 1151 A. D.). Names of places of 
residence gradually became more important than Gotras and Sakhas 
for the Brahmins.’^ Along with Gotras, family surnames also began to be 
mentioned, and, later on, sub-caste names based on places of residence. 
Thus surnames now had their origin either in professions or in places of 
residence or other peculiarities, and the importance of Sakha or Pravara was 
lost sight of, though all Brahmins remember them to this day. 

33. Cf. A1 Beruol’s book on ‘India’ (1030 A. D.); Sachau (I), p. 99: — “The Hindu.s 
have institution of castes with sub-division distinct from each other, like 
the species within a genus. Wc, Muslims, consider all men equal except 
in piety, and this is an obstacle which prevents understanding between us and 
the Hindu.” 

34. Vydsa Smrti, especially allowed this practice. The only condition was that one 
must know the family with whom one cats to be a Dwija family (the family, by 
the way iqcluding barbers, friends of the family, co-parccncrs, servants, and 
cowherds !). 

35. In the two Dhamdaccha grants by Durlabharaja Solahki in Navsari district 

(Saka 996, Saihvat 1131, 1075 A, D.) edited b^ G. V. Acarya, the Brahmin i.s 
described as I ’’ J. B. B. R. A. 5., 

Vol. XXVI. 

36. In 'an Inscription of Bhola Bhima of Gujarat, dated Saihvat 1256, 7nd. Ant. XI, 
p. 72, the Brahmin donee is described by name only, and by his Raikavala 
J§ti, or sub-section of the Brahmin caste. 



The two main modern sections of Panca Cau^a and Panca 
Dravida, however, had not still come into existence. This main division 
arose even later than 1200 A. D., and was due to the meat-eating, of the 
former and the vegetarianism of the latter. We find it recorded in the 
‘Nagara Khandia' of the Skanda Purdna (Circa 900 A. D.) where the whole 
history of Nagara Brahmins and their special God Hatakesvara Siva is given: 
that an unknown Brahmin came to their town and a Nagara Brahmin gave 
him his daughter in marriage; he was subsequently discovered to be a 
Candala, to the great consternation of the community; and the Nagaras, there- 
upon made it a rule not to give their daughters in marriage to any but to 
the known Nagara-Brahmins; and the known Nagara Brahmin families were 
enumerated. This arrangement seems gradually to have been adopted by 
all castes; and sub-castes came consequently to be called “Jnati” or 
‘ known sections This story may be an interpolation and a later invention, 
but it shows why marriage-relations were generally restricted to people of 
known pedigree residing in the same country. 

Another circumstance which encouraged the formation of sub-castes 
was the migration of Brahmin families to Southern or Eastern countries, 
either on their own initiative or in answer to invitation.® These Brahmins 
formed separate sub-castes, being unwilling to mix with local Brahmins, whom 
they considered inferior to themselves in purity, both of diet and of blood. 
The settlement of certain sub-castes in Siddhapur at the invitation of Mula- 
raja has procured for them a higher social status than that of other sub- 
oastes, and not only the Siddhapuria Audica Brahmins, but also the Siddha- 
puria Ghancis rank the highest among their respective sub-castes. 

Next to immigration, migration of the. different castes led to sub- 
divisions in accordance with their change of domicile. The stem castes of 
Gujarat took their names either from sacred spots, such as Modhera, Siddha- 
pur, Vadnagar, Girnar, etc., or from important local centres, such as (Lata) 
Broach, Nandod, Anaval, Srimala, Osia, Kheda, etc. Famines, invasions, 
territorial or dynastic changes, pressure and emigration, have led to new 

37. In the Abu Inscription (Saihvat 1331, or 1274 A. D.), we have the word 

actually used by the writer to describe his caste or sub-section. 

Cf. the Prasastis, of and (Chitor) which were composed by a 

Brahmin belonging to this higher caste. 

‘HarsolGrants’of Sarhvat 1005 (949 A.D.) mention the donee Laliopadhyaya 
as son of Govardhana, a Nagara of Gopali Gotra with three Pravaras, from 
Anandapura. This is perhaps the earliest reference of the Nagara Anandapur 
— Vide Report, III Oriental Conference, Madras, (1924), p. 194- 

38. For a detailed account of these Brahmin immigrants, see, Rdaa-Mald, Vol. I, 
pp. 63-64. 



settlements, chiefly southwards. In many cases, Brahmins, Valias, and 
many Son! and GhancI craftsmen, rejoice in a common name derived from 
their original common home. Subsequently, wherever the off-shoot of the 
stem-caste settled, it formed a new sub-division, the parent-caste sometimes 
dining but never intermarrying, with its new offspring. Several of the immi- 
grants have preserved in their caste-designations the names of their origi- 
nal non-Gujarat homes, such as Jhalora, Mewada, Saraswata, Sachora, 
Srlmali, Sri Gauda etc. 

The mode adopted by Nagara Brahmins to define their sub-castes, i. e., 
classifying them according to their Gotras, was followed by various sub- 
sections and hence have arisen those hundreds of exclusive sub-castes into 
which the Brahmins are now divided, with their rigid rules regarding inter- 
dining and inter-marriage. All these sub-sections acquired new names from 
the country or town of their residence, or from other causes, which, because 
of the restrictions of marriage within the bonds of each particular sub-section, 
became of far greater importance than Gotras and Sakha. However, the im- 
portance of Gotra is not destroyed, as one might well be led to think; the Gotra 
marriage is still the supreme law of marriage amongst Brahmins. There 
is, also, an intermediate sub-section of Gujarat Brahmins, called Barads 
(Sanskrt 4Hl ) which is composed of those who, failing to secure wives, 
in their own communities, or because of some breach of other caste-rules, 
married girls from other Brahmin divisions, and have, therefore, ceased to 
belong to their original caste. 

The caste of Ksatriyas which comes next in importance, did not divide 
itself into numerous sub-sects, as it could not do so on the basis of town 
or country of residence. It had already divided itself into two main 
sections, viz., those who cultivated and those who did not. The former 
were naturally considered lower in grade than the latter who, when they 
were not kings, were at least never less than heads of villages 
or districts (?I®n-3I^) or lordlings. These now came to be called “Rajaputs” 
— a word used in inscriptions of this period to denote the ruling Ksatriyas 
generally,** and giving rise to the old Gujarati word or 

from the thirty-six prominent traditional K^triya families. The 

Calukya and Vaghel branches, which ruled Gujarat upto the end of the 
thirteenth century, did not rank high among these thirty-six families, 
53 , although there was intermarriage between these families and 

39. Vide, Epigraphia Indica, Vol. XIV, p. 1591, BallSlasena’s inscription ^ 
quoted by C. V. Vaidya in History of Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. Ill, p. 383. 



We have, further, uncontested evidence that two princesses from the 
Kadarhba family of Goa (not mentioned among the thirty-six) were married 
into the Gujarat Calukya family " It is possible, however, that the Rajaputs 
of Northern India gradually confined their sub-castes to Northern India, and 
refused to continue marriage-relations with the K^atrtya families of 
Maharastra (as witness Karna Vaghela’s refusal to give Devaldevi to the 
Yadava prince of Devagiri, in about 1295 A. D.) 

The dominating Jaina tenderness towards life and dislike for stimu- 
lants, to which Gujarat Brahmanism had to conform, placed the flesh-eating, 
liquor-drinking Rajaput below the trader Vaisya in later times; and in the 
phrase ‘‘Brahmin-vania^*, raised the scrupulous temple-building trader to 
form, with the Brahmins, the highest Hindu community in Gujarat. Raja- 
puts, as Ksatriyas, should rank next to Brahmins; similarly, since their con- 
version to Vaisnavism about the close of the fifteenth century, when they 
turned strict vegetarians and avoided liquors, the Bhatias, originally Bhatti 
or Yadava Rajaputs, have risen to a place almost next to the Brahmins. 

The Vaisyas, also, like the Brahmins, split up into subdivisions during 
this time, on the basis of habitat; but it is not certain when they came to be 
divided into the modern 84 sub-divisions. A reference in Vinayacandra’s 
Kdvya-sifcsd to 84 Desas from which the people took their names, accounts 
for the 84 kinds of Brahmins and Vaisyas. The Sanskrt corroborates 

this view/’ 

There are some family names met with in inscriptions, such as Trag- 
vatanvaya’, Madhavanvaya,^* but the Vaisyas were often Jainas, which is why, 
perhaps, the sub-sections were not endogamou^. Muni Lavanyasamaya has 
given the traditional origin of Oswal, Porwad, and Srimali Banias in his 

40. mentions such marriage in the verse 

1 mK i 

It also mentions Karla’s marriage with a Kasmir princess : — 

I ’ (Vaidya, /bid., Vol. Ill, p. 385). 

41. Vide ‘ftw 

As the K?atriyas have the prominent ‘*kul£is” or“vamsas” so the Brahmin 
and other classes have as the in this Kali Age — so writes the 

author of ‘ ^ in Samvat 1448, and then he enumerates 

the 84 castes. This list is older than that given in 
spf?'? by almost a century, and is worth a perusal. 84 sub-sections among 
Vaisyas are mentioned in Mirdt-i^Ahmadl Supplement published in Prdchut 
Gurjara Kdvya Sangraha (G, O. series. No. XIII), p. 125. 

42. Indian Antiquary, XI, page 72. 



VimaUi Prahandha (Samvat 1568), a poem in Old Gujarati.® Those who 
inhabited or populated the salt tract of Osia were called Oswal (or Uswal).® 
and those who dwelt on eastern side of iSrImalanagar came to be known 
as Pragwat or Porwad.® The chief caste, however, was that of the Srlmalis, 
which gave rise to several other sub-sections.® The Prabandhakara also 
enumerates the 84 sections of the Vaisyas, thus supplying us with a fairly 
complete list of the Vaisya sub-castes extant in the sixteenth century A. D." 

His description of the ‘ Adhara Varpa ’ or the eighteen classes of the 
Hindu society, a term which appears to have come in vogue about the 15th 
century, is also most valuable. After giving the conventional four Varpas, 
with their respective callings from the Vedic and the Smrti period 
'(because he assigns agriculture to the Vaisyas — — and 
menial work to Sudras), he goes on to mention two groups of artisans and 
craftsmen, called the nine “Narus’’ and the five “Karus”, respectively,*" 
together with the original four castes, thus making up a total of eighteen 
Varpas. The latter half of the couplet shows that marriage, also, was an 
important factor." Here is a description of the duties of a Vaisya and, 

43. Mapilil Bakorbhai Vyas’s edition (1914): — 

^ sqffK I tRjf® ^ ^ ilTf II 
5ITO f® «iNK I m ” 

44. Sifq i 

II ” m ii, V<(. 

45. “ 5PT? «l4!t I Jri»H13r I ” tt. 

46. “ thPatiPi 311^ d? fe '1'^ I ^ II ” ^ 

47. “^i ftnfir I % v.4: JiiBft ii ” ^ v, »,?. 

“ 51% firiNs, 51% %4 b, Kti% I 

51% 51% !irei3ft ^ sipig i 

51 aisRift ^ ^ ^ig II ” m R, 

48. ^1^, 1 g5R i 

firtgrw m 1 31^ 311^ g®ll #3rR 'i —<>. 

rnsr, #n, % 1 ^ s^ia^R i 

R %5 39% I 9=3 51% 9 IBPP II — C? 

B?, gPR I 31»R: 9^ 8151? II ” ^ V, 

49. « 9513911 m? 9sit #ii?ii3n -aR : 

95159, 39? 9I"ft, % 5^95%1% *9?. " 

“^1^ 99?9 % 811^ 951399, 95Ic*t 9?tft ?P13*t X : 

99T #91^ 399 ^ 99, 95941-95391 ^ 9Icfl : 

— ?fi% g3R% ■?. ' 




incidentally, a most interesting side*light on the times of the poet himself : 
“The Vaisya, deals in all sorts of business relating to agriculture, is consider- 
ed worthy by the learned, has a fair knowledge of trade, and is liberal” — 
(Such really, was Vimala Mantri, minister to Bhimadeva Solahki). 

The Sudras were sub-divided into innumerable sections not only on 
the basis of habitation but also of emplojrment, each profession consolidating 
itself into a separate sub-caste, and becoming endogamous, like all the 
higher castes and sub-castes from the Brahmins downwards. Certain 
craftsmen, who claim descent from some Ksatriya-clan, exploit the 
‘Parasurama Myth ’ to accoimt for their later degradation — the Bhavasars, 
Golas and Sutars, for instance, who, it is alleged, took to their respective, 
callings when Parasurama resolved to destroy them. 

Among the untouchables, there were two main divisions, the Sudra 
and the Atisiidra as noted by A1 Beruni." The eight untouchables, since the 
Smrti period, are the fuller, the shoe-maker, the weaver, the basket-maker, 
the rope-dancer, the fisherman, the hunter and the juggler, all of them endo- 
gamous as usual. Even the lowest of these refrain scrupulously from inter- 
dining or inter-marriage amongst themselves, through fear of defilement or 
ex-communication. Because, “ It is necessary to observe ” writes Forbes, 
“that even a Dhed is still a Hindu, and superior as such, to a Mleccha, or one 
who is not a Hindu.”^” Samaibhatt describes how members of the various 
castes are forced to take to lower professions by want or troubles. (The word 
‘ ’ is derived from the Sanskrt 

50. Sachau, Vol. I, Chapter X. 

51. Vide, Rd«a-Mdld, Vol. II, p. 238. 

Also, (Saihvat 1478), an Old Gujarati prose-romance, considers the 

following tribes to be sinful, and therefore, de.spicable — the Fisherman, the 
Drunkard, the Oilman, the Courtesan etc. 

v-fi f®, Jft® ii»ii f», I 

w,f»i qft qliO, anNt, ^igO, %, >^i, „ 

iq, f» 3tlf»isit ll” — O. O. Series No. 7, p. 124 

52. “ % I sK I 

I RWn wl I 

w I fiwii-w I 

It wi? I *13^ wqt wqt I 
•R’n'ft I ql: fw ^>0 i” etc. 

— ‘ unnRi»i5ft aral ’ 



Almost all the trading classes, and even the depressed classes, from 
the Dhe^s downwards, have a section which claims Rajaput descent and hears 
Rajaput surnames, although necessity has stripped it of all social prestige. A 
steady stream had long flowed from MarwS^ into Gujarat, and besides 
forming new castes called after their Muwa^ homes, added a ‘Maru’ section 
to many a trade and calling. But this is not all in Gujarat, the three separ* 
ating influences of calling, marriage and food are still at work forming new 
castes and determining their social status when formed. 

Some new castes are formed by those who, ashamed of their low 
castes, strive to conceal it when better days come, and assume a name likely 
to be better respected. The very first symptom of social stability is a refusal 
to give their daughters in marriage to other members of their castes, from 
which nevertheless they continue to take wives. After a time, when their 
numbers have increased they close their ranks and marry only amongst 
themselves, passing for a superior sub-caste of the main caste to which they 
belong, and they stand up by severing all former connections, assuming 
brand new names, and claiming general recognition as a distinct caste.” As 
a rule, all the members of a caste including the sub-castes, eat together, 
but marriage is confined within the limits of sub-castes; and restrictions 
increase as one descends the social ladder. Brahmins, Vanias, Rajaputs, and 
Kunabis cannot give their daughters outside their respective castes or sub- 
castes, but they can eat together within the larger circle of their main 
castes. But the artisan and depressed classes are more strict with regard 
to food and marriage, allowing neither inter-marriage nor even inter-dining 
between their sub-castes. 

53. See, R.B. GovindbhSI’s Baroda Gatettew, Vol. I, p. 155, rc: 'Kolis' 

Chapter 3 


The economic factor, in its influence on national character, is an inter* 
mediate phenomenon between the purely material factors of race and climate, 
and the political, social, intellectual and spiritual factors of law and govern- 
ment, marriage and family, language and literature, beliefs and ideals. 

We shall now take a cursory review of the gradual growth of the 
population in Gujarit and the main occupations of the Gujaratis. A close 
scrutiny of the gradual growth of the population for the several regions, 
reveals a highly unequal distribution. 

Population : It is difficult to say when the Aryans penetrated into 
Gujarat. The first wave of Aryan immigrants in Gujarat, perhaps, consisted of 
the Saryatas, a tribe claiming descent from Manu, and the Bhrgus, the martial 
priests who traced their descent from the sage Bhrgu.' There is evidence 
to show that Aryan tribes called Saurastras, Anartas, Bhrgukacchas, 
Aparantas andKonkanas occupied the entire sea-coast from Sindh to Bombay. 
Possibly the historic tradition of Bhfgus and Saryatas is based on the folk- 
lore of these tribes. The myth runs that the eponymous Saryati and 
Cyavana, the Bhfgu, found home in this distant land. A son of the for- 
mer, Anarta, gave his name to North Gujarat ; qnd Anartapura (Anandapura, 
modern Vadnagar) was one of the earliest centres of Aryan cultures. 
Cyavana’s asrama was situated on the bank of the Narmada, possibly near 
Rajpipla. The Bhrgus had Bhrgutirthas on the Narmada. The next wave of 
immigrants settled in Saurastra, where Haryasva, a Yadava king, founded a 
kingdom. Girinagara (Junagadh), Kusasthall and Prabhasa were the earli- 
est Aryan settlements in the peninsula.* 

In the Mdhahh&rata we find mention of the Yadava colony of Sri 
Kf^na in Gujarat. The Skanda Purina, in its Prabhasa-khapda, Nagar 
IChaoda and others, introduces Gujarat as Kusavarta— Avarta and its 
monarchs— but the province became known as Saurastra later on. At 
first it, along with Sindhu, Sauvira, etc., was under a ban, and the Konkap 

1. K. M. Munshi : Early Aryan* in Gufardt. 

2. See, Markaifieya Pur&ya, 57, 49*52, 58-22. 

3. fiarivamia, II, 37 ; 38. 



was wrested by Parasuram, according to the Piir&rias, from the sea . In eatU- 
est times, the country was all aranyas (forests), and the valleys of the 
Sarasvati, Sabhramati and Mahi were still Arbudaranya. South of it was 
Naimi^arai^ya, between the Mahi and the Narmada ; further south was 
Dan^akarai^ya, now the Dang forests. There was a Dharmaranya in Anarta, 
and a Camparaiiya in Saurastra. There was an Asrama of Vasistha near 
Abu, of Kapil near Siddhapur, of Bhrgu on the Narmada, of Markandeya on 
the Payo^ni, identified with Tapi, of Udumbara on Mesa (Mesvo) and of 
Kapila on Dhadhar near Kavl. 

The forests gave place to Ksetras or plantations, and settlements 
such as Kumarika Ksetra (Gujarat), Prabhasa Ksetra, Bhrgu Ksetra etc. 
Then we come to Avartas, • or circles, as in Brahmavarta, Kusavarta, 
Aryavarta and then Desas or countries ; Brahmariu Desa, La(a Desa, etc. 
We then come to the regular establishment of political units, — ^provinces 
(DeSas) {Man^ala), divisions (Visaya or Patha), cities, towns {Pattana 
and Pura) and villages (Grama). 

Mere fertility of soil or abundance of rain does not make for density 
of population. In Saura^ti^a, for instance, the fertility of a part of the soil 
cannot nullify the disadvantages of an uncertain rainfall and an isolated 
position. Constant wars, unstable conditions of life and poverty — these were 
the main features of the lives and therefore the history, of the people. 
Inevitably, then, the population is sparse, both because of natural causes and 
the large number of emigrants who seek their fortunes abroad. In the sea- 
coast areas, the population is non-agricultural. These tracts have greater 
industrial prospects than agricultural, because of the advantages of 
a sea-board. Nor does a heavy rainfall help in the forest area of South 
Gujarat, whose hard soil and generally unhealthy climate renders it unsuit- 
able for settlement. North Gujarat has a salubrious climate but a meagre 
population, while Central Gujarat is malarious but densely populated. 
Forest regions, again, have a heavy rainfall, but are very meagrely 

If we were t$ make four natural divisions of the province according to 
their climate, the order would be (1) North Gujarat, (2) Saura?tra and 
Kaccha, (3) Central, and (4) South Gujarat. In regard to natural drainage— 
another important factor— the order would be (1) Central, (2) Southern, 
(3) Northern Gujarat, and (4) Saurastra with Kaccha. 

The trans-Mahi area, which forms what is known as ‘Carotar’,— from 
the ancient name of a group of 104 villages — is one of the historic divisions 

4. For see Kavyasikfa by Vinayacandra, quoted in Gaekwad 

Oriental Series, No. 1. 



of Gujarat, noted for the high fertility of its soil. Carotar has a Gujarat! 
dialect of its own, and is the home of the Leva Ka^bis, the agricultiiral 
aristocracy of Gujarat. It is here that agriculture is most intensive, and 
population thickest. 

The bulk of the population in Carotar, Vakal, and KShnam is tsrpi- 
cally agricultural. Kahnam soil, which is black, is easily tilled, of great 
depth, and containing, as it does, a fair proportion of organic matter, it hardly 
requires manure. On the other hand, Gordon, in Carotar, requires careful 
cultivation and abundant manure to produce good crops ; but with effort 
and proper irrigation, is capable of producing finer crops, and a greater 
variety of them than the best of black soil. Tracts like Carotar and Vakal 
(which is half-black and half-red soil), offer greater attractions to the settler, 
particularly to the superior type of agriculturist, than even the best Kahnam. 
Another reason is, that in Carotar, where Goradu requires intensive culti- 
vation, a great deal more field-labour is needed per unit of cultivation than 
in Kahnam, which, of course, makes it more expensive. 

In the Northern Gujarat, ve learn that the crops are thin and stimted, 
the fields everywhere interspersed with large patches of incurably barren 
Khar land, and the villages mere clusters of miserable hovels built of mud 
and straw, more like pigsties and bee-hives than human abodes.' The 
Kolis and Musalmans of these barren regions call themselves “Mevasis”, 
“turbulent” or “given to plunder”, and have preyed for centuries upon 
their richer Kanbi neighbours. Under the settled regime of post-Maratha 
days, the Mevasis have been given a privileged tenure, and turned to peace- 
ful occupations, which, instead of making them good agriculturists, has only 
made them thriftless do-nothings. 

To turn to South Gujarat, the Rapi Mahals are notoriously unhealthy, 
and their water is full of organic matter, and not fit to drink. The constitu- 
tion of the population shows how the ‘ Ujaliat’, or the light-coloured classes, 
have given place to the ‘Kali Paraja’, or the dark aborigines, who do not toil 
on the soil. A perpetual prey to malaria, it is not surprising that the local 
Dhanaka should soak himself in drink. The bulk of the population is agri- 
cultural, but the land has deteriorated in the hands of these primitive tribes. 

Three distinct elements might be seen' in the population-stock of 
Gujarat. There is a very large tribal element dispersed mostly in the high- 
lands to the east and south, and in Saurastra. There are besides, certain 
large ethnic groups like the Koli, Ta^vi and Vasava Bhils, and Waghers who 
occupy an intermediary status between tribal folk and Hindus of the plains. 

5. Barods Ceiuut Report, 1921, p. 13. 



In some places they are regarded as very backward and tribal, while in 
certain other areas they are very progressive and almost attain the status- of 
a Hindu caste. Among the tribes, Bhils are easily the largest. Then there 
is a large group of non^tribal population consisting of the non-Hindus such as 
the Muslim and Pars! and certain untouchable exterior castes. 

Agriculture, the main occupation of the people of Gujarat, allowed 
a thicker and more concentrated population. It may be regarded as the 
beginning of civilization, involving, as it does, a settled existence, permitting 
even town-life and requiring, for the protection of land crops, a certain 
amount of political activity. It was most successful when slave-labour 
or forced labour was available for regular cultivation of the soil. The episode 
of Prthu, a king of Bharatvarfa (in the Bhagavata Purdna) if explained in 
terms of ordinary life, marks the advent of civilization in India, when the 
earth was first brought under cultivation. He removed the unevenness of the 
earth, with the end of his bow (i. e. with a ploughshare), and then milked 
the earth, in the form of a cow; and it is this, probably, that gave him the 
title to a king’s l/6th share in the produce of the land in order to protect 
the fruitful “Cow”. Another such example is Visvamitra, who is said to 
have created a new world of his own — perhaps a new settlement, which he 
cultivated, and where new crops were first introduced by him. 

To give a more recent example from history, Lakho FulapI — who 
was defeated and slain by Mularaja Solank! in the tenth century A. D. — is 
said to have first imported the grain called Bajrl to Saura^t^^a from a distant 
eastern country." In that country, it is said the grain was called Kkad-Dhdnyd! 
(coarse grain obtained from grass). This may suggest the date when por- 
tions of the interior of Saurastra were first brought under cultivation. In 
the temperate zone, food is abundant in summer but scarce in winter. 
This has compelled men to cultivate land, to store food, to provide clothing 
and shelter for themselves, and to devise means of exchanging commodities, 
in other words, to take to agriculture, manufacture and trade, and, if there be 
a coast-line, to navigation and commerce. 

As early as tAe time of the Mauryan supremacy, Saxira^tnans were 
known as a race of agriculturists and of warriors." Says the author of 

6. For a detailed narrative, Ratnamala (1903 edition), p. 288. 

7. trreft ^ «rpr i 

'ri# »nrt II” 

“Bravo for your Bajri, which hath long leaves; by eating which horse 
sprouted wings, and old men became young.” 

8. Vide “ i || ” — Kautiliya Artha-Sfistra, XI. 

Also see the Gujarati proverb “3TR %?ft, RWR rWI”. 



Periplus in the early years of the Christian era, “The interior parts of the 
Barugaza and Sauras^rene produce abundantly com and rice, the oil of 
seasamum. butter, muslins and coarser fabrics, manufactured by the Indians. 
It has also numerous herds of cattle.” “ 

Since four-fifths of the villages live by agriculture, the distress caused 
by bad agricultural years is widespread as well as terrible. Famines never 
came singly, but were accompanied by want and epidemic which destroyed 
thousands. The earliest extant historical reference to such agricultural 
calamities in Gujarat is of a famine in the reign of Bhimadeva I (1022-1064 
A. D.). When the rains had failed round about Palanpur, the cultivators 
were unable to pay the king’s share of produce. They were brought before 
King Bhima; but the Prince Mularaja in very pity begged the king to remit 
the revenue in lieu of a boon that had been promised him, and the king 
consented. The third year after this. Prince Mularaja died. But the next 
year being of plenty, these poor but honest cultivators came to pay to the 
king his due for the past and the present years. Bhimadeva refused 
the arrears : but, to please the cultivators, spent them later on in charity ; 
a truly noble episode, reflecting credit alike on the ruler and the ruled. 

We also read of a second rigorous famine, in the reign of Visaladeva 
Vaghela, the first independent ruler of Gujarat, which was successfully 
combated by reason of the magnificent munificence of a philanthropic Jaina 
trader, Jagadu, of Mahuva in Saura^tra." This Jagadusha was forewarned 
by a Yati, in Samvat 1312, about a great famine, that would last for three 
years, and to be known as Pandarotaro (Saihvat 1315): he accordingly 
forearmed himself, hoarding huge amount of corn brought from distant 
coimtries by his agents. The famine came as severe as had been predicted; 
in two years even the royal granary was empty; grain became so scarce that 
only thirteen grams could be had for a Dramma" and it was then that Jagadu 
began to distribute, freely, the grain he had collected. Later on, he was 
requested by the minister of Visaladeva to give a loan of corn to the king 
himself; but the brave as well as kind-hearted merchant refused, pointing 
out that a copper-plate inscription in his granaries declared that “these 

9. Ind. Anti.. VIII, p. 141. 

10. For further references to Famines, see : 

(1) Malek Gopi’s Proiosti, in Baroda Library Miscellany (1916). 

(2) Pethadsha, in Jaina Padavali, ‘Puratattva’, 1924. 

(3) A document for purchasing a girl in famine in Lekhapadhhati (Gaek- 
wad Oriental Series, No. 19, p. 45) 

11. Vide Sarvinanda Suri’s m. 



grains of corn are collected only for the poor” After many entreaties, 
however, he gave 8,000 mu^ds (equal to 3,20,000 maunds) of com to 
the king. 

The third allusion to a famine, in Sariivat 1661 (1605 A. D.) is foimd 
in the historical poem Hiravijaya Suri Rasa, by ^fabhadasa of Cambay, 
evidently an eye-witness to the calamity. In this great famine, two brothers 
Rajia and Vajia Parikh, philanthropic and wealthy merchants of Cambay, 
distributed four thousand maunds of com amongst the poor, and spent twenty- 
three lacs of rupees to relieve the famine-stricken people in one year.” This 
royal help, coming from merchants, is significant of the wealth of the trading 

The terrible Gujarat famine of 1630-32 A. D., called the “first Sitasio” 
(Samvat 1687) to distinguish it from the second “Sitasio” a hundred years 
later, must be regarded as the severest recorded famine in India, in view of 
the detailed information available to us from Persian, English, and Dutch 
sources. The draught of 1630 was followed the next year by rains so torren- 
tial that they washed away all the crops and flooded the town and villages. 
Millions died, first of starvation, and later of the epidemics that followed in 
the wake of the famine. The rains of 1631 failed, both in Gujarat and in the 
Deccan. The poor were willing to sell their children for a loaf of bread, but 
few would buy and many helpless little ones were abandoned. 

The Mirat~i-Ahmadl tells us that even those who, in normal times, 
used to distribute largesse amongst the poor were now turned into beggars. 
The disposal of the dead became a problem, and people feared to go alone or 

Accounts of this famine, in the Badshdhn&ma of Abdul Hamid, and by 
Dutch factors, as well as in the Journal of the English Factor, Peter Mundy, 
have become available.” Proceeding from Surat to Burhanpur, Mimdy found 

12 . “ 5P15: sfimrora ft I " — dr. cc. 

13. See “Cr^ TRTR, *l4r Wl+K I 

ft ^ wr MfJT-gmw, *ir(r % 5 ^r ^ ! 11 ” 

(^WRiNfin «?T. m. ft. e, ?. ci) 

14. ft« tBKBft stfayWiTg 5 ft I 

«rR TOR gor ^ 8 ?RirT, aftRB to 11 ” 

Mr. Mr. ft. % 1. 

15. Prof. M. S. Commessariat : Bombay University Lectures, October, 1928, reported 
in Times of India : Lecture II, ** Sitasio Kdla*\ 


cwbiTDJiAL msTOsy or gujabat 

the whole distance of nearly 340 miles converted into a vast charnel house. 
Hiere was nothing uncommon in the sight of heaps of dead bodies, 30 or 40 
deep, of all ages and sexes, confusedly tumbled together without any cover- 
ing. At Nandurbar, Mundy could find camping ground only in the open 
spaces between the tombs in the cemetery. Returning from Agra by way of 
Ajmer and Rajputana, two and a half years later, Mundy witnessed further 
effects of the disaster. The glorious ruins of Rudramala at Siddhpur were 
full of the bleached skull dnd bones of those whose bodies had been 
dumped therein. At Mehsana were lying heaps of dead men’s bones; even 
Ahmedabad, the “Metropolis of Gujarat”, was half ruined and depopulated. 
The famine swept away more than a million people in Gujarat, while the 
pestilence that followed did no less havoc. 

The economic effects of the famine, notes the English factor, on the 
staple calico and indigo industries of Gujarat were profound; and the pro- 
vince did not recover its pristine condition for nearly a decade. The weavers, 
washers, dyers, etc., were either dead or had fied to distant parts. Whereas 
before 1630, the Broach weavers supplied the Surat factory with 600 or 1000 
pieces of cloth per day (the production of the crude hand-loom workers may 
be noted) they could in 1644 supply no more than 20 or 30 pieces. The trade 
which was able to supply 3,000 bales of indigo per year was hardly able to 
deliver 300.“ 

Shah Jahan’s Government tried to relieve the famine by opening 
soup-kitchens in Ahmedabad, where the imperial camp was stationed; 5,000 
rupees were ordered to be distributed among the poor every Monday for 
twenty successive weeks. The Viceroy at Ahmedabad was ordered to 
spend 50,000 rupees in buying grains from the merchants to distribute 
among the needy. Taxes amounting to Rs. 70 lacs were remitted apart from 
the remissions made by the Manasabdars on their Jagirs.” 

As a side-effect of this “Sitasio Kala”, great disorder was created in 
Sorath. In 1635 A.D. the peninsula was a waste, and ceased to yield any 
revenue of importance, while it afforded a safe asylum for marauding 
Kathls who came over by Ranpur into Gujarat and laid waste the fertile 

16 . The foreigners, the English and the Dutch in particular, did not entirely escape 
the disastrous effects of the famine. There was not much loss of life among 
them, but there was great loss in trade and commerce, and the Dutch and 
English factories were practically destroyed. 

n. For an account of how famines were dealt with in ancient times, see Prof. 
Commessariat, University Lectures. 


districts of Dholka and Dhandhuka. It is interesting to note that this famine 
was followed by a wave of extreme mortality." 

In 1681 A.D. there seem to have been riots in Ahmedabad due to 
famine and scarcity. The city was placed under martial law; and the duty 
on grain imported to the capital had to be remitted. The “Panchotaro” 
(Samvat 1775; 1718-19 A.D.) according to the Mirdt~i-Ahmadi, was the 
next memorable year of scarcity, in which the “price of Bajri and of Math 
is said to have risen to a shilling per pound (four seers the rupee). Special 
arrangements were made for the sale of grain in the Capital. All grain 
entering the city was taken to the residence of Dewan Raghimathdas, and 
there divided into small portions and sold to the poor.” 

This scarcity was also felt in Marwad, which is cited by Todd as an 
instance of the caste-confusion caused by famine, where the ministers of 
religion forego their duties, the Sudra could not be distinguished from the 
Brahmin; and the four castes threw away every symbol of separation; and 
all distinction was lost in hunger. It rained twice^ but out of season. The 
poor lived on the leaves and roots of wild plants; but after a time this 
unwholesome diet caused a pestilence, and many died. People were reduced 
to selling their children for one or two rupees. 

The '‘Second Sitasio” of Samvat 1787 (1731-32) was as severe as the 
first. It rained cats and dogs for foiurteen days, compelling Maharaja 
Abhayasing, Viceroy of Gujarat, to raise the siege of Dabhoi. Grain was 
already dear due to preceding years of scarcity and now the country was 
flooded, the roads impassable, and grass not procurable, wherefor horses 
and cattle were reduced to eating the leaves of trees. Grain rose to 2 shill- 
ings per pound (i a pakka seer per rupee). After the rains, fever and 
cholera broke out to complete the havoc. Ahmedabad was crowded with the 
f amin e-stricken from surrounding villages. There was no time to bathe, 
shroud, or bury the Mahomedan dead, writes Mirdt-i-Ahmadi. Many poor 
Mahomedan women were bought by Marwadls and were converted to 

The literature of the time contains references that bear out these 
accounts. Vallabhabhatta (Samvat 1710-1800) has given apowerful description 
of the conditions prevailing in those times, owing to the triple alliance of 

18. See Bomhay Gazetteer, Vol. VIII, p. 295. 

19. See MiraUi-Ahmadl, Chapter III; also TaAkM~Sora^h, for a similar ‘SuidhV. 



famine, flood and pestilence, principally in the years 1732-33-34 A. D* 
Abnormal occurrences such as these seem to have influenced the minds of 
certain poets of Gujarat. It was the famine of Saihvat 1729 that led Pre- 
m ^nand to select Rsya§rnga Akhy&na as the theme of a poem.** 

The “Suflatalo” of Saihvat 1847, too, was very bad. The author of the 
Tarikh-iSorath says that many Hindus turned Muslim just to obtain bread, 
and many Muslims, likewise, forsook their faith. Grass was as costly as 
saffron, and grain terribly dear. 

The “Agnotaro” of Saihvat 1869 was an equally heavy famine in 
Marwad, in Gujarat and in Saurastra. Such strange things were done 

20. “STW «IIFl 

ft irai jft& H fiff. » 

sRiapin ft f5^<t, ^ ftv in^ flniw. 

srfff «i3 ft f5=a(t, »irer gaui 
• • # • « • 
arfk ^ 5^ ft 3l«t4 fiv-qt 3Rn«I. 

ufsiiffJrt ft ?ri>Jr 5t 

UPTO a«it gft ft to ik, 

fiCf ^ 5ft ft fjfO, 111 »n?r 5iuRiR. IV 

jRc fi<t ifft^ ^ f ja(t, Juu: fi^t ?Fi:fK, 

ff<f 3irfi^ fr»it^ ^ fsfft, sift fR. <10 

sni ! 3nft-gf2t ft fjf^t, 0t^ ^ 5r mu, 

?r3> ffit HTi:FPit d «i5=f<t, ft smH.” 

(VaUabha Bhatta, Kali Kdlano Garbo, 1736 A. D.) 

21. See Premananda, R^yasringa Akhydna : Prachina Kavya Traimasika, Vol, 
IV, No. 2. 

» fii® fit, TOT mwr mfl ufrara 
«t»pi?ft# g®Rif, ^ vffirt fio5 
k 5Sbi<n^^, fiiR fi<t g ? 
aiflr RRif 51^ M, ffsf sRMt w flit ” 



because of hunger and thirst that it became a common thing to refer to the 
sins committed during this famine in a collective form." The local distress 
was enhanced by good-for-nothings from Marwad, who wandered over the pro- 
vince committing crime, spreading disease, and raising the price of provisions; 
and a visitation of locusts in the same year, which, driven out of Marwad by 
lack of rain, spread over Saurastra and Northern Gujarat, filled the cup of 
misery to the brim. These locusts devoured not only the rain-crops, but even 
the leaves and barks of trees, whose branches broke under their weight. A 
gruesome picture of the havoc worked by this famine is given in the Bombay 
Gazetteer, Vol. IV (pages 60, 220). The selfishness of mercenary grain- 
merchants and the cruel indifference of the rich in the city of Ahmedabad 
soon reduced the refugees from villages to the most grievous straits. In 
almost all the chief towns of Gujarat, the Mahajans joined the Government 
in opening relief-houses ; but there was little method in their charity, and 
no attempt at order. 

“It was a cruel sight” writes the Bombay Gazetteer, “to see the 
struggles when the doors were opened to divide the food. Children were 
often crushed under the foot of their own parents, and many people died 
from greed and gluttony”. The suburbs of all the large towns were sur- 
rounded by the destitute. They squatted under trees at the road-sides, men 
women and children, all huddled together, famished, sick, and dying, some 
with scanty coverings, others with hardly a rag. To the miseries of starva- 
tion were added those of sickness. Some public works were undertaken, 
wells were dug, and rich merchants subscribed handsomely to lighten dis- 
tress, but the relief was but partial. Men and cattle died by thousand. 
The famous Shahi Bag Palace in Ahmedabad was built in 1622 by Shah 
Jahan, then the Viceroy of Gujarat (1616-1622 A. D.) to give work to the 
poor during a season of scarcity.” 

So famous were these famines, that the people still swear by their sin 
and misery. A man will say, "if what I state is false, let the sin of 1869 
cling to me.” Another will say, “swear to me by the misery of Samvat 
1869.” Though famtiiarly called “Agnotaro”, the famine began in Samvat 
1868 and did not end till 1871. In 1870 excessive rain spoiled the crops, and 
people, enfeebled by pestilence, could not sow the weather-crops. In this 
year, also, destructive floods ruined many houses, and in some places even 
swept away whole villages. 

22. For instance, as a warning against the misappropriation of MSS. copies, see 
colophons : — 

“ NT ^ sStSsI ^ TIV d I ” 


The Tarikh-i-Sorath says that all these calamities were attributed to 
the comet of 1812 A. D. One K^snarama carried away by the general 
condition of society after the visitation of this famine, has eloquently de- 
scribed in a powerful poem, the actual position of the Gujaratis in Kali 
KaUtnun Varnan, * written only five years after the event, when it was still 
quite fresh in his memory. Of course, he imputes the whole blame to Kali, 
the “Bad Times” personified. The usual monsoon season during this 3 rear 
gave rise to a couplet which is still preserved in records and memorised by 
the people." 

Next in importance and influence to famines and years of scarcity 
are the devastating forces of Epidemics and Floods. The earliest record 
of such calamities in Gujarat is fvurnished by the mention of a plague in 
1443 A. D., which caused such havoc in Sultan Ahmad’s army while he 
was in Malwa, that he retired to Gujarat. The famine of 1590 was followed 
by a kind of plague which depopulated not only villages but whole 
cities. The plague that next raged in Ahmedabad in 1618, began in the 
Punjab in 1611. It was supposed to be connected with the Comet of 
1612. No place in Hindustan escaped its ravages and though varying in 
severity, for eight years, it continued to lay waste the whole country. In 
this unheard of epidemic, the Hindus suffered more than the Mahomedans. 

In 1618, Emperor Jahangir congratulated himself on having escaped 
the plague (waba) by coming to Ahmedabad. But the plague rushed 
to Ahmedabad soon after the Emperor, and was most deadly, specially 
amongst the Europeans. Jahangir writes, “This disease had never appeared 
before in this country as for two years there bad been want of rain and 
the country had suffered from famine. Sopie said it was due to the 
foulness of the air from draught and scarcity. God knows, and we must 
submit to His will.”” It was the same outbreak that in 1684, near Goa, 
attacked Sultan Mozzim’s army and carried off 500 men in a day; and raged 
in Surat for six years (1684 to 1690) without interruption. 

The outbreak of pestilence, which came in the wake of the 'Agnotaro 
Kala’, was so deadly that it was said to have destroyed half the ryots in 
the country. The poor, reduced to a diet of leaves, roots and seeds, fell an 
easy prey to pestilence. There was sickness in every house, whole families 
were carried off. Driven south by the famine in Northern Gujarat, crowds 

23 Bfhat Kavya Dohan, Part I (1925 edition), p. 746. 

sfer, % wiJlfujiii =^1.” 

25 Elliot, VI, p. 407. 

tm tcosomc rAcroB ; pofulahon and occupation 


of criminal, idle, and diseased immigrants from Kaccha and Malwa caused 
great injury in Surat and Broach. “These famine immigrants are said to 
have introduced small-pox of a very virulent description and pestilential 
disease of the febrile kind, from which Surat suffered severely.’’” 

The third abnormal phenomenon of floods, by the overflowing of 
rivers, completed the helplessness of the people of Gujarat. The Sabarmati 
floods of 1732 A.D., referred to by Vallabhabhatta just after the second 
Sitasio famine,” of the Rupen river in 1814, when the rains were so very 
heavy in the southwest of Palanpur that the flooded river carried away the 
ICarpa Sagar Lake which had safely dammed its waters since 1090 A.D., 
and of the Tapti river which drowned a major part of Surat, just after a 
heavy fire, almost within two decades of the floods in Sabarmati (Saihvat 
1893) The floods of Samvat 1778 in the Narmada have been recorded in a 
Revdji-no-Garbo by Umiyadas in the same year*’. These floods caused a 
terrible amoimt of devastation and misery to the people in those particular 
parts of Gujarat. 

The earliest record of a flood in peninsular Gujarat is preserved in the 
inscription of Rudradaman. The event was the bursting of the great dam of 
the Sudarsana lake at Junagadh in 151 A. D. This dam, originally constructed 
by Pusyagupta, Governor of Candragupta, in 317 B. C. had to be repaired 
in the reign of Asoka (250 B. C.), Candragupta’s grandson, by his Yavana 
Governor Tusaspa. It burst during the reign of Rudradaman (151 A. D.), 
was repaired, and again gave way in the reign of Skanda Gupta (457 A. D.). 

The flood in 151 A. D. seems to have been a truly terrible one. Inspite 
of all possible precautions to avert imminent danger, the dam gave way, and 
the devastation that followed can better be imagined than described. Heavy 
rain had turned the whole earth into a lake, and had converted the rivers 
Suvarnasikata, Palasinl, and other streams, which flowed from Gimar into 
the lake, into powerful torrents, beyond the strength of the dam to resist. 
Furious onslaughts of wind and rain completed the havoc. The wind was 
strong enough to uproot and hurl into the lake everything that stood in its 
way, from the trees ^t crowned the summit of Gimar to the houses and 

26. Hamilton’s ‘Description of Hinduism’, quoted in Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. II, 
p. 315. 

27. Cf. ‘HTI 

28a. As witness popular ballads like ‘ ‘ sjpRl 

TO)’, uwl’. 

28. Published in * by M. R. Majmudar, 1658. 



villages that nestled at its base. The dam, then, burst, and the newly liber- 
ated waters rushed headlong to the sea, carrying all before them. It was an 
overwhelming calamity, with which (so says the Inscription) all the courage 
and administrative skill of the officials on the spot were powerless to deal. 
The record of the double breaking and the double mending of dam of the 
lake Sudarsana, is an important landmark in the early history of Gujarat. 

Famines lead to migrations; and migrations affect the population. In 
about 1400 A. D. the Kathis, for instance, whose sole occupation was that 
of graziers, left Kaccha, which was famine-stricken, and came to Saurastra, 
which thence came to be known as ‘Kathiawad’. Lakho Fula:oi> also driven 
out of Kaccha by a seven-year famine, migrated southwards into Saurastra 
and founded a settlement in Pancal in the 10th century A. D.” Malwa, 
too, afforded shelter to the famine-stricken, traditional stories and folksongs 
tell us ^ and so did Gujarat. 

The first migration from Gujarat to Bombay seems to have taken place 
in 1790 A. D., when a severe famine in Gujarat, known as “Sudatalo” 
(Saihvat 1847) drove a great many Parsi families away from the villages 
round Surat into Bombay, where local Parsis gave them a warm welcome." 
These famine-induced migrations from the north, however, led to no increase 
in the population of Gujarat, because of the several hundred thousand people 
who are supposed to have come from Saurastra, Kaccha and Marwad as 
refugees, very few seem to have survived. The plague and pestilence 
proved too much for them. 

Besides the uncertainties of the weather, there were extraneous reasons 
for famines in the early years of the last two centuries. The transition from 
an old system of Government to a new is an upsetting thing obviously. 
When the Mughal power broke down in Gujarat, and the Marathas, Rajaputs 

29. A couplet is preserved in Ratm Mala (p. 204), which contains a reference to 
Lakha’s migration from Kaccha : 

“ *n?t njsqr, sm; 

30. The story of Ebhal Valo, as also the seasonal>forecasts, generally attributed to 
Bhadali, contain more than one reference to Malwa as a convenient refuge in 
times of trouble ; 

“ ffm ^ Jisj .• 

5iil5i 5 3^- 

Spm 5*rra : 

fitg ! g ^ 3IT *na%, 5 pwt ” 

31. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IX, Part II, p. 094. 



azui Mahomedan nobles struggled for supremacy, there was war; and, with 
war, devastation; then the British stepped in, and took part in many a war 
that hindered cultivation and harassed the peaceful village-population. 
In the words of Sir Thomas Munro, "Wars were added to unfavourable 
seasons to bring up recurring famines in India. We may add to these 
reasons the mis-rule of the servants of the East India Company, and 
the unhappy blunders which were perhaps inevitable, when a new race of 
rulers found themselves called upon to administer the land-revenues of 
a strange and newly conquered country.”® 

Trade is the second main occupation of the Gujaratis, as is obvious 
enough when we consider the contour of the province, with its open coast- 
line and ports which date from the very beginnings of the history.” There 
were naturally, good trade-routes connecting the ports with the interior 
of the province and the continent, for purposes of import and export. 

In old times, the chief trade-route in the province followed the coast 
from Gogha south-west to Somanath, and thence north-west to Dwarka. The 
chief land-routes were those which connected the peninsula with the main- 
land, and of these the most frequented passed by Jhinjuwada Patadi to Wadh- 
wan, and by Viramgam to Wadhwan. The routes by Dholka and Dhan- 
dhuka to Wadhwan and Valabhi were also in common use. There seems to 
have been a road joining Valabhi and Junagadh and Vanthall; but as the 
greater part of it lay in forests and thinly populated country, the trade-route 
followed the coast-line. Later on, in the twelfth century, the Solanki of 
Anhilwad constructed a military road from Wadhwan to Junagadh by Saila, 
Sardhar, Gondal, Virpur and Jetpur, which was used as a trade-route for 
many years. It also became the regular road for travellers, and the coast- 
routes were gradually neglected save for religious pilgrimages. 

In the times of the Mughals, and especially under the Imperial Vice- 
roys ( 1573 - 1704 ), the interior of the peninsula became populous, and roads 
were multiplied, one of which ran from Wadhwan direct to Dwarka by 
Navanagar and Khambhalia. When Dholera and Gogha were the chief ports, 
the routes to Dholera from Wadhwan and other places in Jhalawad were by 
Limdi and Dhandhuka, and from Halar and Kathiawad proper by Ranpur 
and Dhandhuka. The chief road from Ahmedabad to Gohilwad was by 

32. Romesh Candra Dutt, Famines in India, p. 16. 

33. “Its (Gujarat’s) geographical position has niade it the gateway of India to the 
western world from the earliest known antiquity. The chief occupations of its 
people have been trade and manufacture in a degree unequalled by the other 
parts of India.” Jadunath Sarkar's “Foreword” to Mirdt-i-Ahmadi, Persian 
Text, Volume II. 1927, (G. O. Series No. XXXIV). 


cinunntAL histobt or tjotJOtAt 

Dholka, Koth, Hatiala, Dhandhuka, Barvala and Sihor, which abounds in 
large rest-houses for Jaina pilgrims to PalitapS. The old route from 
Navanagar to Gujarit and Malwa was by Dhrol, Tankara, Morbi, Halvah, 
Dhrangadra and Viramgam. 

As to the state of communication in the mainland under the strong 
rule of the Aphilwa^ dynasties (943-1300), the primaeval forest that 
stretched from the hills of Modasa to the mouth of Sabarmatl and the 
fringes of the Ran, was gradually converted into cultivated land studded 
with wealthy and populous towns, whose very existence testified to the 
development of flourishing trade. Its chief inland mart was Dholka. A1 
Idrlsi (1150 A.D.) speaks of Dholka, Asaval, on the site of Ahmedabad, and 
Sihor, the chief town of Chumval, as places of good trade." With the 
building of Ahmedabad in 1411 A.D. (after a long interval of disorder and 
insecurity), the country entered upon a new era of commercial prosperity, 
the focus being now transferred from the banks of the Sarasvatl to the 
banks of the Sabarmatl. This new capital of Gujarat was the heart of the 
great kingdom, “which,” says Barbosa, "had many cities and towns in the 
interior and very much shipping and many merchants and ship-owners, both 
Moors and Gentiles.” From Ahmedabad goods were carried to Cambay 
by land for transmission to large vessels. 

Towards the close of the 17th century the head of the Cambay 
Gulf Wcis silted up, and Surat came into prominence, drawing to itself the 
chief trade of the province. In trans-Mahi regions, there was one road, used 
by country carts laden with merchandise and raw materials, which passed 
through Dabhoi and Karjan to Baroda; a second went through Padra 
towards Jambusar, and a third went through Fetlad to Cambay. There wa.s 
considerable traffic along the road which passes through Savli and other 
important places and terminates at Halol, owing to the large trade in 
cattle, horses and other live-stock. Surat, in the latter part of the 18th 
century, seems mostly to have made use of two routes for purposes of inland 
trade, one to the towns of Northern Gujarat and through Khandesh 
southward to the Deccan-Aurangabad and Hyderabad, and the other 
northward to Malwa, Indore and Ujjain. Concerning the old main lines 
of traffic, Col. Wallace wrote, in 1859, to the Secretary to the Government 
of India, “The Baroda Railway runs not along, but at the right angles to the 
great lines of existing traffic. One of these lines parting from Surat, runs 
up the valley of the Taptl. The second starting from Broach, runs directly 
via Dabhoi and Sankheda, towards Indore. The third line parting from 

34. Elliot I, p. 87. 



Broach, passes through Barova whence it passes via Halol and Dohad, into 
Malwa. The fourth parting from the Tanfcaria Bander, passes through 
Baroda and so joins the Malwa road. The fifth line departing from Nadiad 
as the principal entrepdt but gathering all the trade of Gujarat between 
the Mahi and the Sabarmati rivers, together with the goods imported to the 
ports by sea, principally that of Dholera, passes through Godhra and Dohad 
into Malwa.” 

These inland routes, however, were only fair-weather roads. Rains 
soften the soil, causing the roads to become impassable, and for months at a 
time outlying tracts, especially in the black soil region, are practically 
cut off from the great centres of population. A certain amount of 
agricultural carting and cattle-driving must be done even after the rains 
have set in; with the result that the tracks soon turn into quagmires. The 
dry season, following, makes matters worse, hardening the tracks into 
ruts and lumps most destructive to vehicles and distressing to their 
occupants. Riding at any speed over the deeply fissured black soil in the 
hot weather, is dangerous; so horsemen, too, are compelled to stick to the 
tracks (Childs). The deep dust into which the cotton soil is ground by 
heavy cart-traffic makes travelling a dreary affair both for men and 
beasts, and during the Cdtur Mdaa, or four months of the Monsoon, people 
stay at homes, occupying themselves with domestic and religious matters 
and finding all their pleasure in homely activities. 

Gujarat was connected with her neighbours by five ancient overland 
routes. The most important was the northern route connecting Gujarat with 
Sindh and Punjab via Rajputana. From early times, this route seems to 
have been very active. Though the greater part of Rajputana is today a 
desert, this region supported, what seem to have been, flourishing settlements 
in pre-historic times. The recent explorations in Bikaner and at Rangpur 
and Lothal in Gujarat have revealed not only an extension of the Indus 
Valley Cultures, but also its contacts with the Gangetic Valley and North 
Gujarat, which seems to have been the meeting place in pre-historic times, of 
the Stone Age Cultures of Punjab and South India.* Probably the earliest 
large scale movement along this route was that of the Sakas and the Hunas 
(B, C. 200) followed by the Gurjaras. 

The eastern routes connected Gujarat with Malwa and the Gangetic 
basin. A northerly route following the river Mesvo and the upper reaches 
of the Hathmatl, through Idar, Khedbrahma, Harsol and Samalaji, was ex- 
tensively used by the Mauryans, the Guptas and the Solankis. The other was 

* V. D. Krisnaswamy : ‘Stone Age in India’, Ancient India, No. 3, 1948. 



the water-way provided by the rivers Narmada and Taptl. Since the greatar 
part of this lay between the forested hills of Satpura ranges, it is probable 
that it was extensively used, although the Marathas entered Gujarat in early 
18th century through this route. 

Then a main north-eastemly route from Surparaka (Sopara) passed 
north via Dohad-Ratlam pass. With this was linked up the old onyx route 
from Ujjain to Broach near Baroda. Finally the main north-south route 
lay along the North Kohkan coast and linked up at Sopara with the two 
routes from the Gangetic basin and from Deccan. The Calukya and Rastra- 
kuta invasions seem to have occurred along this route. 

Thus Gujarat was open to culture-contacts and migrations from Sindh 
and Punjab via Rajputana in the north, from Malwa and Gangetic basin in 
the east, and from Deccan in the South, not to speak of the contacts from 
the sea-routes. 

The oldest ports in India are to be found on the coast-line of Gujarat 
from which we can infer the importance it gained from the extensive mari- 
time trade that then existed. Baudhayana Smfti* states that “northerners 
(i. e., the people of Gujarat, Saura^tra and Sindh-Baudhayana himself being 
a southerner) were hardy seamen since long; they are not to be condemned 
because of their frequent voyages.”"’ Maritime activity in the Aryan north 
must, then, have existed long enough to be accepted without demur even 
by the orthodox Smrtis. Then there is evidence of the Jdtakas, which them- 
selves belong to 500 B. C.; but the folk-stories on which it is based date back 
to times unknown. References in these to Barygaza and iSurparaka 
merchants*' show that this maritime activity existed in the 8th century 
B. C. If it was in full swing in 800 B. C., it n^ust have commenced much 
earlier. The fame, prosperity and wealth of ancient Bhrgupura, even in 
pre-historic times, were due almost entirely to its extensive maritime com- 

The discovery of Indian-made articles in the ruins of Babylon has 
proved that the maritime activity of Broach had commenced at least as early 
as the middle of the second millenium B. C. In the time bf the author of the 
Periplus (C. 200 A. D.) five distinct trade-routes seem to have centred at 

* Assigned by Buhler to the fifth century B. C. 


36. ffT«iwR ^ jtrf*! 

»r«0(?r i”— ^RR! I 




Broach, or, as it was then called, *Barugaza’, of which two were by sea and 
three by land. Of the sea>routes, the most important led to southern Arabia 
and Egypt, the other to the ports of the Persian Gulf. The land-routes were 
used to carry merchandise to and from northwards through Sindh, eastwards 
through Ujjain (then the capital of Malwa), and southwards as far as Daula- 
tabad (Tagara) and Paithan, the chief towns of the Deccan. 

Besides these regular trade-routes, there was traffic between Broach 
and Africa, and probably between Broach, Malabar and Ceylon. About the 
beginning of the Christian era, Broach had monopolised all the export and 
import trade of northern and central India. The whole of northern India was 
using this port for export trade; and the importance of places like Kapadvanj, 
Sahel, Bhilsa (old Vidisa) etc., was primarily due to their being on the trade- 
route between Pataliputra and Broach. There was, as a matter of fact, no 
other port so convenient to Pataliputra, Varanasi, Kanauj and other northern 
cities. The export trade of the Deccan, also, passed through this port. Says 
the Periplus : “From these marts, Paithan and Tagara, goods are transported 
on waggons to Barugaza through difficult regions that have no roads worth 
calling such.” The richness of this trade may be inferred from the fact, re- 
corded by Pliny, that there was no year in which India did not drain the 
Roman Empire of a hundred million lesterces ! 

This maritime activity of Broach continued unabated until the 7th 
century, when Huien Tsiang visited it in the course of his Indian tour. He 
wrote “Their sole profit is from the sea.” The trade probably declined con- 
siderably during the next two centuries owing to Arabian piracy, which 
became rampant at this period. In later times, although Broach district was 
no longer the trade-centre of Gujarat, it had yet so far maintained its position 
as a mart as to send forth in the 17th century, ships eastward to Java and 
Sumatra, and westward as far as Aden and the port of the Red Sea. Later, 
as the foreign trade of Gujarat centred more and more in Surat, and thence 
was transferred to Bombay, Broach lost its maritime glory. The cotton ex- 
ported from Broach to China and Bengal was sent through Surat and Bombay, 
and as far back as 1815, Broach port had ceased to have any foreign commerce. 

According to Ptolemy, the order of the western coastal territories was 
as follows ; — Syrastrene (Sorath) , Larike (the strip of land bordering the Gulf 
of Cambay, called the Sea of Lar, down to early Mahomedan times), and the 
strip of land bordering the Gulf of Barugaza (known as Aparanta or Northern 
Konkan). Mangrol, a most important port, is mentioned by Ptolemy 
as a mart in Saurastra or Syrastrene as early as the first century. After the 
strong rule of the Anhilwad dynasties (746-1300) there had been growing 
up at Ghoga, under the patronage of Pathan kings, a race of hardy lascars, 



whose prowess enabled Mokhadaji Gohel, in the 14th century, to levy 
blackmail on all that entered the Gulf of Cambay from his stronghold in 
the island of Piram. His power, however, was but short-lived, for he was 
slain in battle by later Mahomedan masters of the province. When the city 
of Ahmud Shah arose on the other side of the Gulf of Cambay (1411), 
Gogha rose greatly in importance, as all the larger vessels came to anchor in 
its deeper waters, and there discharged their cargoes into small crafts for 
transmission to Cambay, whence they were carried by land to the capital. 

Cambay had become a natural outlet for the export and import trade 
of the mighty Gurjara dominion. The extensive trade of Anhilwacl, Agra and 
Delhi was all carried through this port and it was from here that Mahomedan 
pilgrims from Northern India used to go to Mecca. There were several 
marts in the city, its merchants were very rich, and it was one of the chief 
money-markets of Gujarat." Many Mahomedan merchants settled in 
Cambay, which was also a naval port of the Solankls. Mahomedan chroniclers 
inform us that when the mother of Mahmud Ghori, who had embarked for 
Mecca from this port, was attacked by pirates, she was saved by the timely 
assistance of the naval squadron under Tejahpala, which was probably 
stationed at this very port. 

With the Mahomedan annexation of Gujarat, the city’s fortunes 
declined. In the fifteenth century, after a lengthened interlude of disorder 
and insecurity, the province entered upon a new era of commercial pros- 
perity. By land came into Ahmedabad the opium of Malwa, horses, arms 
and silken stuffs from Khorasan, indigo, tobacco, cotton, and gram from 
nearer home, to be bartered for foreign imports and local manufacture. 
Out of the city flowed a stream of traffic southward to the ancient entrepdt 
of Dholka, where much fine cloth was woven by settlers. Here a small 
branch diverged into Saurastra, but the main current passed on to Cambay, 
whither were brought by sea, from every part of the eastern world, the 
luxuries demanded by a splendid court and a pleasure-loving nobility. 
Before the beginning of the 19th century, the silks, brpcades and cotton- 
cloths of Ahmedabad (generally bearing the name of ‘ Cambay ’, then the 
place of shipment ) were in demand in every eastern market, from Cairo to 
Pekin. On the coast of Africa they were exchanged for gold, often at a 
hundred times their real value. “ To Aden come ships of Cambay, as many 
and so large and with so much merchandise for transport to the Arabian, 
Abyssinian and Egyptian markets that it is a terrible thing to think of so 

37. “ g?I | Gimar Inscription, 1222 A. D. 


great an expenditure of cotton>stuffs as they bring.”* 

The early Portuguese accounts confirm Barbosa’s, bearing ample testi- 
mony to the commercial predominance of the great kingdom of Cambay and 
its capital, Ahmedabad. Its merchants were their keenest rivals, its mer- 
chandise their richest prizes. The clash of interests between European traders 
and Indian traders all over the world gave the first shock to the trade of 
Ahmedabad. Not only did the Portuguese, whose position was finally estab- 
lished by their success at DIv (1538), close the Red Sea against Mahomedan 
ships, but their supremacy at sea made even the Gulf of Cambay as unsafe 
for their rivals as it had been in the days when the Gohel was still at Piram 
(1347 A.D.). In vain did the Gogha sailors try to avoid Portuguese cruisers 
by keeping far out at sea and passing, on their way to Malacca and Suma- 
tra, through the Maladive Islands to the south of Ceylon; their rich cargoes 
fell a prey to the European at every turnand in 1531 Saldana, penetrating 
to Gogha itself, destroyed the town,* 

More disastrous still was the decline of the power of the Ahmedabad 
Kings. In the middle of the 16th century anarchy prevailed throughout the 
country; but Akbar promptly quelled, though he could not prevent, rebel- 
lions, restored security to property, and abolished transit duties on all arti- 
cles of common use. About fifteen years after his cbnquest, the traveller 
Frederick (1588) declares that ‘ had he not seen it with his own eyes he could 
not have believed that the trade of Ahmedabad and Cambay was so great’. 

At the beginning of the 17th century, in spite of slackness in mainten- 
ance of public order, and although there were “large tracts full of thievish 
beastly men and savage beasts”, specially in the north of Gujarat, two 
hundred carts laden with merchandise used to leave the capital almost every 
ten days for export by sea. Trading in 1638 was easy and convenient in 
Ahmedabad”, except for gunpowder, lead and saltpetre, for which a licence 
was wanted. Strangers were free to trade in any commodity they pleased. 
The only customs duty was a charge of fifteen pence on every wagon, and 
the Vania’s correspondents in all parts of Asia, and even in Constantinople, 
made exchange easy and advantageous.” People and merchandise from all 
parts of Asia were to be found in Ahmedabad. 

* Stantlcy’s Barbosa. Sanghavl R$abhadas of Cambay furnishes us with a 
glowing picture of Cambay trade in his Hira Vijaya Suri Rasa and Kum&rapala 
Rasa (Sarhvat 1670-1685). 

38. Kerr’s Voyages, VI, p. 223. 

39. Mendelso. 

40. Harris’ Travels, II, p. 114. 



Towards the close of the 17th centttry trade began to leave AhmedSbad. 
The head of the Cambay Gulf was silting up, and Surat, near the mouth of 
the Tapti — a port specially favoured by pilgrims to Mecca, and enriched by 
English and Dutch commerce, was drawing to itself the chief trade of the 
province. From the year 1573, when Akbar conquered Surat, to 1733, when 
the decay of the Mughal Empire had set in, the city of Surat passed through 
many and great vicissitudes. Under Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jah§n (1573- 
1658), Surat enjoyed peace and prosperity and rose to be one of the first 
cities in India. During Aurangzeb’s reign, however, its prosperity was 
checked, partially by Maratha raids (1664-1685) and partially by the growing 
importance of Bombay. In Akbar’s time (1590) Surat was classed as a first 
class port, and greater trade-centre than Kinder, Gandevi and Balsar." 

The most important events in the history of Surat at the beginning 
of the 17th century are connected with the arrival and settlement of certain 
companies of European merchants. The silting of the head of the Gulf of 
Cambay, the disturbed state of North Gujarat, and the destruction of Div by 
the Muskati Arabs in 1670 combined to make of Surat a trade-centre for the 
whole of Gujarat, and its importance as the “Gate-way of Mecca” was further 
enhanced by the strong religious feeling fostered by the Emperor in the 
Indian Muslims. This struck a blow at Ahmedibad, from which it never 
recovered until the establishment of British Rule in 1818. The trade of the 
district continued to decline; trade-routes were clogged by transit-duty- 
stations and exposed to the attacks of robber gangs who roamed about at 
will, in spite of the partial protection given to trade by a few military leaders. 
Special importance as a trade-centre had its disadvantages. In Ahmedabad, 
the town-duties in the best days of Mahomedan ^ule were fixed for Musal. 
mans at 2i% ad valorem, and at 5% for Hindus. They were constantly raised 
as the necessities of the rulers grew more pressing. They reached a climax 
when, in 1755, the Peshwa and the Gaekwad divided city-revenues among 
themselves: Each Government collected its share through its own agents 
and went on introducing fresh exactions. 

“In this city commerce once met with every encoWagement. It was 
the resort of merchants, artists and travellers gf every description. It now 
exhibits solitude, poverty and desolation.”® ' Of the sea-borne trade by 
Cambay at the end of the 18th century, little or nothing remained except 
occasional shipments from the western districts to ports lower down in the 
west. Left to herself, Ghogha fell a prey to successive adventures, and even 

41. Ain-i-Akbari, II, p, 65. 

42. Oriental Memoirs, 1781. 



after she became nominally subject to the Peshwa, bis administration, in so 
remote a place, carried no importance. The British opened a new port at 
Dholera in 1802, and it rose speedily after 1818, when their Government 
had been completely established. Dholera became the terminus of a line of 
traffic that stretched as far north as Pali, the great Marwad trade-eentre, 
and incidentally this gave the first push to Viramgam towards commercial 

Let us now cast a glance at the state of trade in Sauraipt>^a ports. In 
the peninsula, the chief historic ports were Gogha, Div, Somanath-Patan, 
Mangrol, Veraval, and Porbandar. Mangrol, or Mangalpur-Pattapa, is a 
very ancient place, famous, even is the first century, as a good port; it is 
mentioned by Ptolemy. Ptolemy has also mentioned a number of 
ports on the coasts of Saurastra and Gujarat: Bordexima (Porbandar), 
Monoglasson (Mangrol); Ashtafrapra (Hastavapra near Valabhipur), Bary- 
gaza (Broach), Ka?nane (Kamrej) and Navasaripa (Navasari): From Peri- 
plus we learn that Barygaza (Broach) was the chief emporium for the trade 
of Western Asia and imports from the Mediterranean region, which included 
wine, porcelain, perfumes, vessels of copper and brass; and Broach exported 
in turn textiles, spices and onyx from Ujjain. There is abundant material 
evidence of this extensive trade through the discovery of Roman coins, 
Sculptures, Cameos, Diadems and Roman pottery from Western India. 

At the beginning of the 16th century Barbosa describes Mangrol as a 
good port, where many ships from Malabar touched for horses, wheat, rice, 
cotton, cloths and vegetables, and brought cocoanuts, emery, wax, car- 
damoms and other spices. It was called Surati or ‘Sorathi Manglor’, to 
distinguish it from ‘Malabari Manglore’. 

Somanath Patan, a well-known sea-side place, was a famous town of 
pilgrimage for Hindus, and afterwards an embarking port for Muslim 
pilgrims on their way to the holy places of Persia and Arabia. Alberunl 
says that Somanath was famous for its maritime commerce, and a convenient 
station for ships plying between Sofala (in Zanzibar) and China®. This is 
confirmed by Merutunga, who narrates how Yogaraja, the grandson of 
Vanaraja, seized and plundered some storm-delayed ships at Prabhasa. 

43. Situated at the meeting of now unmolested highroads from Rajputana, from 
Jalawad, from Ahmedabad and from the three sea-ports of Dholera, Bhava- 
nagar and Gogha, Viramgam became a rendezvous for droves of camels 
laden with silks, clarified butter, raw sugar and dyes from the ware-house of 
Visnagar orVadnagarandRadhanpur.and for carts bringing dry goods from 
the fertile districts of Patap. 

44. SitchsUf II, 109. 



In the 16th century Div was a famous port of call for all vessels bound 
to and from Gujarat, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Portuguese travel- 
lers refer to it as the chief emporium in Saurastra, but it declined after its 
acquisition by the Portuguese in 1535-36. Gogha, Somanath, Mahgrol and 
Porbandar were flourishing ports upto the close of Aurangzeb’s reign. 

The small sea-port of Veraval* is specially notable for a Masjid built 
by Khoja Nur-ud-din Firoz, a navigator (Nakhuda) and a great sailor — ^hail- 
ing from the island of Ormaz in the Persian Gulf, with the cordial help and 
co-operation of the leading men of the town, who not only gave him land for 
it, but even contributed towards its maintenance. 

An important feature of mediaeval trade in Gujarat was the tribe of 
Banj haras" — main carriers of goods and feeders of the inland trade of the 
country. There was wheeled traffic, no doubt, wherever it was possible. 
Carts did well enough for level country. But rivers and ups and downs 
made rough travelling, and the bulk of heavy goods was moved by means of 
pack-animals, and only valuable goods were carted, such as treasure or indigo, 
where there were obvious objections to frequent loading and unloading. The 
great northern route into Hindustan was regularly used by Banjharas and 
Carana Bullocks and Sindhi and Rajput camels. Long droves of these 
animals, laden with dyed cloth, opium, sugar, grain, oil-seeds and dyes 
streamed down over the hills of Duiigarpur into the plains of Gujarat and 
on into Saurastra, returning with salt, tobacco and sea-borne produce. 
During the fair weather months, wagons, camels and bullocks brought mer- 
chandise into Surat. As carriers of grain for Musalman armies, the Banjharas 
have figured in history from the days of Mahamud Taghlak (1340 A. D.) to 
those of Aurangzeb (1658-1707); and they supplied grain to the British army 
under the Marquis of Cornwallis during the siege of Seringapatam (1791- 

These Banjharas, by the way, have always made ^ powerful appeal to 
the imagination of the people, and Gujarati poets have immortalised them in 
poems which, while mainly allegorical and spiritual in theme and spirit, yet 

45. Known as the port of Orunz, as mentioned in the inscription in the temple of 
Har$ad Mata of Saihvat 1320, now at Veravat — Bh&vanagar Inscriptions, p. 224. 

46. ‘Banjh§ra’ from Sanskrt Prakft means those who deal in 


47. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IX, Part II, p. 86. 



give us very vivid and most valuable descriptions of the inland trade and 
trade-methods of the time.** 

The Gujaratis possessed in a remarkable degree, the spirit of enterprise, 
and it led them far afield in search of wealth and adventure — to Java** and 
Cambodia, so tradition goes, during the sixth and seventh centuries, and, 
about the end of the seventh century, to Siam, China, Ceylon and Jbpan/® 

There was a great migration from Gujarat in ancient India near the 
mouth of the Indus to the Island of Java, due, perhaps, to the devastation of 
upper India by Scythian tribes and to the drying up of the country."* The 
copies of paintings of ships of Java exactly resemble the carvings in the 
Neminath’s temple at Delwada on Mount Abu, executed in a smaller scale 
on the right-hand frieze of the temple. It may be observed with interest that 
the dress of males in the Borobudur paintings bears a close resemblance to 
the Gujarati dress, which finds expression in the carvings at Delwada.” 

Gujarat also claims the credit of the colonization of Ceylon by her 
enterprizing sons.” The ships of Vijaya, as the legend goes, started from a 
place near the city of Simhapur in Gohilwad, Saurastra, and on their way 
touched the port of Sopara, which lay near modern Bassein on the western 

48. See Brhat Kdvya Dohan, Part I, pp. 698 to 703 for Vivardja Shethanl MusdfarV*; 
Part II for **Viveka Vanosdro”; Ibid, for *^BhadrdhhdminV*; Prdclna Kavyamdld 
No. 35 for **Sheelavati no Hdsa” and “Ra^hidli Rdta”, Part III, p. 103. 

49. For the Western strain of element in Java, see Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. I, p. 489. 

50. The Hindu immigrants into Java came from the west coast of India, from the 
valley of the Ganges; this fact is supported by the existence of the proverb in 
Gujarati still well-known both in Marwad and in Gujarat. The proverb has 
the following versions : — 

(1) ‘Who to Java roam, never come home; if they return, through 
seven lives seated at ease their wealth survives.’ 

(2) ‘Who go to Java stay for Aye. 

If they return they feast and play. 

Such stores of wealth their risks repay.' 

51. Quoted in Indian Shipping by Dr. H K. Mukerjee, p. 49. 

52. Gujarat un Vahdy^avatu by Ratnamapirao Bhimarao in Vasant Silver Com- 
memoration Volume (1927), p. 192. 

53. Dr. Suniti Kumar Chatterji observes in his History of Bengdli Language, 
published in 1924, (pp. 72-73, foot-note):— 

“The people of Western India coast were adventurous sailors from very 
early times, even before the advent of the Aryans; and not to speak of their 
voyages to lands beyond the Arabian Sea, Java in the Eastern Ocean was first 
colonized from India by Gujarat people in the last century B. C., according to 
Javanese tradition. The Sinhalese language according to Geiger, is connected 
with Western Praki*ts, Saura§tri and Mahard^tri rather than with Magadhi.” 



coast of Deccan; the fleet reached the shores of Ceylon, approaching the 
island from the southern side. The settlement of Ceylon, laying as it did 
the foundation of a Greater Gujarat, was a national achievement that was 
calculated to stir deeply the popular mind and was naturally seized by the 
imagination of the artist in Ajanta as a fair theme for the exercise of his 
power. The scene of landing of Vijaya in Ceylon about 543 B, C. with 
his army and fleet, and his installation, form beautiful representation in 
Ajanta paintings. 

Since then, Gujarat has connections with Ceylon from very ancient 
times. The proverb Bride from Lanka and bridegroom from Gogha** 
seems to have come in vogue because of marriage-relations which may 
have existed with the settling merchants from Gujarat and Saurastra and 
the indigenous inhabitants of the island. There is another reference in 
a Jaina book called Vividha Tirtha Kalpa establishing the relation of 
Gujarat coast with Ceylon, that in very early times, a princess from Ceylon 
had got built a Sakunikd Vihdra in Broach. 

As regards trade in the east, we learn that in Acheen, a quarter of the 
city was set apart for Gujaratis (1599). Gujaratis were found in Java (1603), 
and in 1611, as far south as the island off Banda. It is noted in Kerris 
Voyages that Gujarat (Cambay) cloth, blank and red calicoes and calico 
lawns, were in great demand, and, incidentally, also that the unpopularity of 
the English in Surat was due to their competition with the old Gujarat carry- 
ing trade to the Eastern Archipelago.'*^ 

The Jats were probably the moving spirits in the early Mahomedan 
sea-raids (630-770 A. D.) against the Gujarat and Kohkan coasts. During 
the seventh and eighth centuries, when the chief migrations by sea from 
Gujarat to Java and Cambodia seem to have taken place, Chinese ships visit- 
ed Div, piloted, probably, by the Jats. On the Sindh, Kaccha and Gujarat 
coasts, there were other tribes also who displayed notable prowess at sea; 
and it was thus that in the seventh and eighth centuries, the Gurjars, chief- 
ly of the Capa or Cavda clan, both in Dwarka, in Soman|th and inland, rose 
to power. We learn from Friar Odoric (1321 A.D.) of a ship that carried full 
700 people, a striking proof of the capacity and maritime skill of the Rajput 
sailors of Gujarat in the fourteenth century; and it confirms the accounts 

It was Simhapur from where Vijaya came and it can be identified with modern 
Sihor (in former Bhavnagar State), not far from the sea. Above all, the mention 
of Bharukaccha and Suppara is a strong evidence in favour of the West Coast 
having been the home of the Aryan settlers in Ceylon several centuries B. C.** 

54. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. II, p. 80, foot-note. 



we have of the large ships of Gujarat which traversed the Indian Ocean 
in all ages.®* 

In the fifteenth and during the earlier part of the sixteenth century, 
it is evident that much of the Indian maritime activity was manifested on 
the Western Coast. Till the arrival of the Portugeese (1500-1508), the 
Ahmedabad Sultans maintained their position as ‘Lords of the Sea’; thus, 
when in 1535 A. D. Humayun secured Bahadur’s splendid jewelled belt, he 
said ‘These are the trappings of the Lord of the Sea.”“ At this time Java 
appears in the State List of foreign bandars which paid tribute, which was 
probably a cess or ship-tax paid by the Gujarat traders with Java, in return 
for the protection of the Royal Navy."’ In 1429, the Gujarat Sultan Ahmad 
Shah sent a fleet of seventeen vessels to recover the Island of Bombay and 
Salsette seized by the Bahamani Kingdom. Mahamud, the greatest of the 
Mahomedan Sultans of Gujarat (1459-1511 A. D.) organized and maintained 
a large fleet to subdue the pirates that infested his coasts.** In East Africa, in 
1498 A. D., Vasco de Gama found sailors from Cambay and other ports of 
India, who steered their ships with the help of the stars in the North and 
South, and had nautical instruments of their own."® 

The commercial transactions between the Strait of Babel Mandeb, the 
mouth of the Persian Gulf and Malacca, bear testimony to Gujarati enter- 
prise in 1510 A.D. According to Albuquerque, *^the Gujaratis were the great 
carriers all over the Indian Ocean. The Hindus arc not generally credited 
with being a maritime people. But it is expressly said of those of Goa 
(1506): “they were a maritime race, and more inured to the hardships 
of the sea than all other nations, built ships of great burden and navigated 
the coasts.” And again in respect of Ceylon and the Far East, “ the Guzera- 
tees understand the navigation of those parts much more than any other 
nation, on account of the great commerce they carry in those places.” 
This much is certain that on the Asiatic side, say from Malacca to Calicut 
to Jeddah, the bulk of the overland traffic was carried on by the people of 
Gujarat all through the middle ages, whence their cargoes were trans-shipped 
on Arab buffaloes tc^ Cosseur and thence by caravan to the Nile, which bore 
them on its flood to Roatta.® 

55. Stevenson, in Kerr’s Voyages, xviii, p. 324. 

56. Bayley’s Gujarat, p. 386. 

57. Bird’s Gujarat, p. 131. 

58. Elphinstone’s History of India, Appendix on * Gujarat ’. 

59. J. A. S. B., Volume V, page 784, quoted by Dr. R. K. Mukorjee in Indian Shipping, 

201 . 

60. The Bombay Gazette, June 17th 1893, quoted by Dr. IL H. Dhruva. 



This sea*faring tendency of the Gujaratis is due to the fact that there 
is no part of Gujarat which is more than 100 miles from the sea, excepting 
the Palanpur Agency in the North and Dohad and Jhalod Talukas of the 
PaAch Mahils in the East; and this affords peculiar facilities for maritime 
activity. The Gujaratis, Hindus, Parsis, Mahomedans and Christians alike 
traded with China and distant parts of India and the East Indies, as well as 
with the Red Sea Coast and Arabian sea-board and the East African coast, 
carrying their sweet language, honest industry and affable manners where- 
ever they went. 

Moreover, we find this interesting people settled in all parts of India 
itself. One meets with Nagar Colonies in U.P., C.P., and in the Deccan, 
and the Khedaval Brahmins as far south as Madras, where a whole street is 
known as ‘ Gurjar Peth ’. The Patidar Colony of the agricultural traders 
from Charotar, settled in South Africa as late as the last century. It has 
been suggested" that the enterprising people from the North and Gujarat 
gave the names of their original homes to their new ones wherever they 
settled. Thus Cambodia is from Kamboja in Kabul, Madura, in the South is 
from Mathura, as also Muttra on the coast of Ceylon, Arabia and Java, 
Sohpala in Africa from Sopara in Western India, Manglore in the South 
from SorathI Mangrol, Socotra from Shahkhoddhar and Kane! from Kashi. 
Some Gujarati town-names from the East and South coasts of Saurastra — 
such as Mangrol, Mandvi, Veraval, Mahuva — Una have found their 
counterparts round about the Surat District, which convinces us that the 
Gujaratis settled in the South for purposes of business only. 

A particular section of Brahmins and Vaisyas in Gujarat called 
‘ Vayada ’ have the unique worship of Vayu, the guardian Dikpala of the 
north-west corner, as their traditional family-god. The iconography of 
Vayu, suggests speed by its vehicle of an antelope, and direction by a banner 
in one of his hands. This suggests that the worshippers of Vayu in 
Gujarat had been carrying on an extensive trade with Arabia, Iran and 
other parts situated in the north-west direction to the coast of Gujarat and 
Saurastra.“ ' 

Detailed information can be had about, the shipbuilding industry in 
Gujarat after Surat became a port of importance, and the European mer- 
chants encouraged local artisans to supply their needs. Next to the manufac- 
tures of cloth, the most important industry in Surat about the end of the 17th 

61. Gujarat uii Vahaifuvatu, p. 184, foot-note. 

62. For details, see M. R. Majmudar : “Iconography of Vayu and Vayu-worship in 
Gujarat ”, Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Vol. XI, 1943. 



century would seem to have been ship-building. In 1688, mention is made of 
a very fine stout ship of over 1,000 tons, built in the river at Surat, and the 
ship-carpenters are said to have been able to copy any English ship in all its 
details, as exactly as if they had been the first to build it. Padre Ovington 
has noted as early as 1690, the marvellous aptitude of the Surat carpenters 
for copying English ships, and the superior qualities of teak for men- 
of-war and merchantmen alike. 

The Surat ship-builders seem to have closely followed European 
models both in the forms of the ships they built and in the style of their 
rigging, differing only in certain details of construction, such, for instance, 
as that most of the timbers were fitted in after the planks had been put 
together, a task needing great care and skill. When the edges of a plank fitted 
exactly into their places, they first rubbed in a glue, which by age became 
as hard as iron, and then covered it with a thick layer of an adhesive 
substance, after which they united the planks so firmly and closely with pegs 
that the whole seemed a single piece of timber. To preserve them from 
the salt water, the sides of the ships were occasionally smeared with wood 
oil. Their bolts were peculiar, of country iron, very tough and flexible. As 
to the rigging, the masts were generally made of Pun wood, from the Malabar 
coast. For sail, coarse cotton cloth or dotti did very well, for though not so 
strong and lasting as canvas, it was more pliant and less apt to split." 

According to Dr. Friar (1672), Aurangzeb kept four great ships in 
Surat to carry pilgrims to Mecca free of charge. The history of the Bombay 
Marine, started by English ship- builders, began in 1613, when a squadron 
was formed at Surat to resist the aggressions of the Portuguese and of the 
pirates who infested the Indian seas. A building yard was maintained at 
Surat till 1735, when most of the work was transferred to Bombay. This 
was the beginning of the association of the Pars! ship-builders of Surat 
with the Indian and Imperial Navy Service. The United East India Com- 
pany’s dock started at Surat was managed by Parsi carpenters. 

In 1735, Dhunjibhoy, the master-builder of Surat, was sent to Bombay 
to build “Queen” f on the East India Company. The “Queen” was a great 
success and the Company decided to ask Lawj! Nasarvanji, Dhanjibhoy’s 
Parsi foreman, to set up a regular ship-building yard there. Lawjl undertook 
the task and the contract for the supply of teak-wood from the forests. By 
1754, the work had grown to such an extent that a dry dock was constructed, 
to which a second, and then a third, were quickly added, and Bombay soon 
assumed the proportions of an immense naval arsenal to which ships from 

63. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. II, p. 146, foot-note. 



all parts of the Indian Ocean resorted for repairs, which could be under- 
taken in safety under the guns of the fortress, 

Lawji's son Jamseiji, who also had taken to the same business, 
turned out a fine frigate, the “Cornwallis^* of 50 guns, in 1802, which was so 
admired by the Admiralty, that they decided to place orders for line-of-battle 
ships with the Bombay Yard, and in 1810, two vessels, one of 1,200 and the 
other of 1,400 tons, were laid down “ We notice that the ship-building 
industry in Gujarat, nearly 300 years ago, grew at the hands of the English 
merchants, in the large ship-building yards at Bassein, Daman and Dahanu 
which were under Portuguese jurisdiction. These were preferred to the 
yards at Navsari and Gandevi, which were in Mughal territory, and for 
the use of which permission had to be obtained from the Governors of Surat. 
Small sailing boats — Machhavas — plying for local trade were manufactured 
at most of the Gujarat ports, but for long distance only the larger craft, 
known as Padavas and Bdtelos were used. Most of them were built in 
Billimora and Daman, because other places lacked home-grown timber 
suitable for ship-building. The other vessels of various sizes — Kotia, Navdi, 
Dihgl, Padav, Batelo or Machhavo — were built by Gujarat artisans. 

Manufacture : The Gujaratis, however, were not simply carriers of 
goods and selling-intermediaries between the artisans or manufacturers of 
India. Not only was Gujarat a great trading centre, it was also the seat of 
certain indigenous manufacturers whose fame travelled even to lands beyond 
the seas. The carpenter, the potter, the blacksmith, the stone-mason, the 
weaver, the dyer, the tailor, the shoe-maker, the drug-seller, and the sweet- 
meat-maker were recognised members of most village communities in Gujarat, 
as in other provinces of India. Artistic workers, in wood, clay, stone, metals 
and textiles were to be found in localities suitable for the exercise of their 
art. Handi-crafts, for instance, flourished best in large towns, as happened 
during Muslim rule (1300-1752 A.D.). 

Agriculture keeps the people busy only for 6 out of 12 months in the 
year, and they need a supplementary occupation for the rest of the time. 
The spinning-wheel supplied this want. Although it brought in but little 
money, it was nevertheless sufficient to stave, off starvation and help the 
people to face the rigours of lean years. Since the advent of machinery, 
however, this occupation and income have been lost to them. 

Among the arts and crafts which give us an insight in the socio-eco- 
nomic life of the people of Gujarat, that of cotton manufacture is the most 

64. H. G. Rawlinson’s article on ** Master-Builder'* : Times o/ India, 16th October, 1928. 



significant, with its deep-rooted effect upon their national character. We now 
deal with the evolution and progress of cotton** manufacture in Gujarat. The 
Greek historian Herodotus (Circa 445 B. C.) being struck with one peculiarity 
that distinguished India from other countries, records that *^cotton was the 
customary and common wear of the Indians. They possess likewise a plant 
which, instead of fruit, produces wool of a finer and better quality than that of 
sheep; of this the Indians make their clothes.’* Arrian states on his authority 
that ^‘the Indians wore linen garments, the substance whereof they were 
growing upon trees; and this he says, is indeed flax. They wore shirts of the 
same, which reach down to the middle of their legs, and veils which cover 
their heads and a great part of their shoulders.” In spite of this reference to 
the cotton plant, general ignorance about cotton being a distinct fibre 
prevailed nearly upto the end of the 17th century in Europe. 

The region of the Indus does not seem to have produced very fine 
fabrics, fit for Royal wear. Kautilya does not include it in his list, but 
notices it only incidentally under the name ‘ Saindhava i. e., product of the 
country of Sindhu or the Indus. ‘Mahisamandala’ mentioned in the Arthasastra, 
may tempt us to interpret it as the province of Gujarat, watered by the 
river Mahi, but that is likely only on the ground that the industry existed 
in the region of the Mahi and supplied the local needs; bnt there is hardly a 
village or town on its bank or near by which was noted for its fine fabrics, as 
Broach was in later days. Hence some scholars identify the country of 
Mahisa with Masulipatam. 

The author of Periplus (60 A. D.) mentions that the Parthian kings 
held under their sway the whole of the North-west area, including Sindh, 

65. “ ‘ Cotton ’ : the Sanskrit term is from which the Greek and Latin “carpasos” 

or “carbasos” are derived. The earlier meaning of the term cotton was 
“flax’'. The same name was known to the Phoenicians and the Hebrews. The 
Arabic terms are “kutu”, “katan”, or “kutun” from which the term “cotton” 
is derived. These too, originally denoted “flax’\ Aviarakosa giving syno- 
nyms for gives also as one of them, meaning what had its final 

end as far as the -feea or upto the sea; i.e. which was unknown beyond the 
sea. The fact that the Greek, Latin and Arabic equivalents for “cotton” 
originally denoted “flax”, proves that it was not known to them as a dis- 
tinct fibre. Even in England the word “cotton” was very reluctantly ac- 
cepted as the name of a distinct fibre after 1664 A. D. (See : Watt : Commercial 
Products of India, page 571.) This piece of philological evidence, supported by 
botanical evidence that cotton, being a plant 'of the Malvacea family is found 
chiefly in tropical countries, and also in the warm parts of the Temperate Zone, 
leads one to conclude that the cotton plant is indigenous.” — History of Cotton 
Industry in India [An unpublished M.Sc. (London) thesis by the late J, N. 
Varma, M.Sc., Bar-at-Law, 1923.] 



Saura^tra and Northern Gujarat as far as Broach. In spite of this foreign 
domination, the province of Sindh was a flourishing one in the matter of 
manufacture and commerce. Amongst the various commodities that this 
province supplied for export to foreign lands, the author notices cotton cloth, 
silk yarn and indigo. Proceeding further, he mentions the coast of Syra- 
strene, now Saura^tra, as being a very fertile province, which produced, 
among other things, “cotton and Indian clothes made therefrom of the coarse 
sorts”. The expression “Indian clothes” seems to have meant “cotton cloth” to 
foreign traders, which suggests the existence of a standardised cotton indus- 
try in the country. The region of Saurasfra, being mainly agricultural, does 
not seem to have produced cloth for foreign commerce; hence its manufacture 
is mentioned as being of a coarser texture. 

The next region of note, and perhaps the most important of all in the 
whole of India as regards foreign commerce in cotton fabrics in those early 
days, was — what the author calls the country of Africa — * Attica ’, the region 
including chiefly the modern district of Broach and the country round about, 
watered by the river Narmada. The chief port of the province on the Western 
Coast was Barygaza, now Broach, which, besides the cloth manufactured in 
that district, obtained a large part of its stock for foreign markets of the 
West from various inland places, as southern ports were obstructed by the 
Saka power in Gujarat. 

A parallel instance of resorting to a particular port due to political 
disturbances may be found in the early days of the 16th century, when 
the Portuguese depredations transferred the cloth export for Europe 
from Bombay and Surat to Goa. Thus we learn from Periplus that the 
province of Gujarat produced cotton cloth of all kinds in large quantities, 
and supplied, through its chief emporium. Broach, the bulk of stock needed 
for foreign trade in these early days. Even in later years Gujarat does not 
seem to have produced fabrics fine enough to surpass those of Bengal. The 
people, being commercial in tendency, remained contented with fabrics of 
ordinary fineness, for which they found an extensive market and secured 
good profits. The manufacture of superfine fabrics was not so paying, as 
naturally the market for them was restricted. 

The fall of Valabhipura, and Ihe advent of the followers of Prophet 
Mahmud in the beginning of the 8th century A. D., did not much affect the 
peaceful pursuits of the artisans. Ibn Haukal (916 A. D.), describing the 
apparel of the Gujaratis, mentions that “In that region both the Moslem settlers 
and the Hindus wear the same kind of dress. They use fine Muslim garments 
on account of the extreme heat. All persons wore short tunics, except the 
merchants, who put on shirts and cloaks of cotton, like the men of Irak and 


Persia " The partiality shown by the people of Gujarat for cotton cloth 
testifies that the industry of cottonweaving was kept intact. A1 Edrisi 
(1179-1186) refers to the harbour-towns of Cambay, Broach, Sopara, and 
Sanjap belonging to the king of Naharwala (Anhilwa4)» which were 
celebrated for their- commerce with various countries. At Cambay, 
particularly, many ships came, bringing merchandise from all the countries 
of the world. Naharwala was frequented by many Mahomedan traders, 
who were honourably received and justly treated. He refers to the riches 
and power of the SolankI king who, along with his attendants, was clad 
in rich stuffs. This proves that the cotton manufacture of Gujarat was 
in a flourishing condition throughout the ages, and produced, albeit in 
small quantities, fabrics of fine texture and superior workmanship. The 
Mahomedans, rulers of Gujarat since 1390 A.D., although they did nothing 
directly to stimulate commerce and industry, at least put no obstructions in 
the way of their development, because they were fully alive to their own 
interests. This is confirmed by Tarikh^i-Firuz Sh&hi (14th century) which 
refers to the embroidered robes worn by the Mahomedan Governors. 

The account of Barbosa (1520 A.D.), a Portuguese adventurer who 
visited India soon after the discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good 
Hope, brings our story to the 16th century, when cotton fabrics were 
supplied by Gujarat to foreign markets, over and above the quantities 
needed for the satisfaction of local demands.*” Somanath, according to him, 
produced '*many silk stuffs, coloured, with much embroidery, and also many 
cotton stuffs”. He also mentions more than half a dozen ports of Gujarat 
which carried on coastal as well as foreign trade in cotton fabrics. Mahgrol, 
Div, Gogha, Gandevi were famous places from which cotton cloth manu- 
factured in the interior of the country was transported to ports on the 
Malabar Coast, and also to foreign countries East and West. Cambay was 
perhaps the most important port on the Western Coast as far as the cotton 
trade was concerned. Says Barbosa about Cambay, “There are workmen and 
mechanics of subtle workmanship of all sorts after the fashion of Flanders, 
and all very cheap. ^ They make there many cloths of white cotton, fine and 
coarse and other woven and coloured fabrics of all kinds; also many silk 

66. Elliot,!, p.39. 

67. C§licut on the Malabar Coast was the chief emporium for spices; and foreign 
ships went there directly. In order to save them a further voyage, the Malabar 
merchants kept large stocks of cotton fabric to supply their needs, which is why 
cloth of ordinary texture, manufactured chiefly in Gujarat, during the Mughal 
period, and first introduced by the Portuguese to countries of Western Europe 
came to be known as ' Calico \ 




fabrics of all kinds and colours and camlets of silk and velvet of all colours, 
both smooth and fluffy, and coloured and thick tdffetdsJ^ Many other 
authorities also bear eloquent testimony to the flourishing condition of cotton 
manufacture in Gujarat throughout the pre-Moghul Mahomedan period.” 

The * baftas ’ of Broach, Baroda and Navsari are mentioned in the East 
India Company’s invoices as ‘ Narrow Baftas Broad Baftas, Special Narrow 
Baftas, and Dye-Baf tas ” Mandelso (1658) speaking of Gujarat, notes “the cotton 
and linen clothes, which are in fineness equal to those of Holland.’”' Mangrol, 
perhaps and Gogha, according to Hamilton, also Porbandar in the peninsula 
of Saurastra were famous at this time not only as ports, but also as manu- 
facturing towns.’^ Beyond these four places, we know little about the manu- 
facturing centres in the peninsula. They seem to have been left unexplored. 
The fact is that though the industry had exLsted there, since the time of the 
Periplus (60 A. D.), it was not of a sort to impress the commercial world, 
being just plain cloth of inferior texture to supply local needs; while regions 
of the mainland looked not only to their own requirements, but manufactured 
cloth in quantities sufficient to satisfy foreign demands. 

In Northern Gujarat there were several districts which produced 
cotton fabrics of different varieties. Passing through the extreme North of the 
province on his way from Allahabad to Agra, Mandelso (1638) noticed 
several towns which concentrated only on local needs. Mehsana and the 
country round about produced much cotton, but little cloth, Bisnagar, he 

68. Haklyt Society, Barbosa, p. 67. 

69. The Jdmi-Ul-Hifcdj/at (1210 A. D.) has a couple of historical anecdotes relating 
to the industry carried on in Patan, the metropolis of the kingdom of the Solah- 
kis. (Elliot, II, pp. 164-65). The Tazjiya-UUAmsar (1300 A. D) pays an 
indirect tribute to the products of Cambay looms, in a passage where he de- 
scribes the booty obtained in that city by the armies of Allaudin Khilji as 
consisting amongst other precious things, of “a great variety of cloth, both silk 
and cotton, stamped (printed), embroidered and coloured'*. (Elliot, III, page 43). 

Marco Polo (1272) observes about Cambay : “ The trade carried on is very 
considerable, and a great quantity of indigo is manufactured. There is abundance 
of cotton cloth as well as of cotton in the country. Cotton is produced in large 
quantities, the coarser sort being adapted for quilting, the finer sort benig 
suitable for muslins and other manufacture^ of extraordinary fabrics. Em- 
broidery is here performed with more delicacy than in any part of the world. 

Varthena (1508 A. D.) observes about the same port: “An immense quanti- 
ty of cotton is produced here, so that every year forty or fifty vessels are laden 
with cotton and silk stuffs, which are carried into different countries." 

70. ‘Factory Records’, Surat, 1625. 

71. See also Tuzuk-i-Jahangtri, 

72. Mandelso (1638) and Hamilton (1727). 



says, abounded in cotton which was turned into both yarn and cloth. In 
Patan good cotton cloths were woven and taken to distant parts as gifta of 
value.’" Tavernier (1676) also says that this town carried on a flourishing 
trade in coloured cottons or chintzes. 

Ahmedabad, the new metropolis of Gujarat, won encomiums from 
quite a number of chroniclers during this period. According to Mandelso 
(1638) there was not in a manner any nation nor any merchandise in all Asia 
which may not be had at Ahmedabad, where particularly there were made 
abundance of silks and cotton stuffs. At that time of his being there, they 
had begun to make a new kind of silk and cotton with flowers of gold, which 
was very much esteemed and sold at five crown an ell. Tavernier (1676) 
also refers to this mixed fabric. Doti a close-woven fabric of middling 
texture, was also excellently woven in Ahmedabad. In short, trade and 
manufacture both flourished; commodities were sent to Surat and Cambay 
for export, and according to Hamilton (1727), the city was little inferior to 
the best towns in Europe. 

There are two more towns in Northern Gujarat, both within a few 
miles of Ahmedabad, which contributed the general stock of cloth and yarn 
manufactured in the province; and of these Mandelso is still the earliest 
authority. They are Mahmudabad and Nadiad, and they produced and 
drove a roaring trade in varying qualities of cotton-thread. Nadiad also 
manufactured cottons, but not in such abundance as other towns of Gujarat, 
like Baroda and Broach. 

In Central Gujarat, Baroda and Rajupura (the latter now a decayed, 
insignificant village in the neighbourhood of Baroda) formed an important 
town entirely given up to cotton manufacture. The people there were 
chiefly weavers, dyers and other workers in cotton; and the fabrics they 
produced were in texture the best in the province, for they were more close- 
woven though somewhat narrower and shorter than those of Brqach.’® 

The port of Cambay, famous as a manufacturing centre during the 
early Mahomedan period (700-1526) also continued to flourish throughout 

73. Abul Fazl : Ain-l-Akhari (1582 A. D.). 

74. The word is preserved in the proverb hinting the incompatible : “ f^r^EWf 

% 3K5rr35rfn ^ l ” 

75. Mandelso. He refers to them as “Baftas”. “Sholas”, "Blue asmani/* etc. Baftas: 
from Persian Bdftan, to weave; literally "a woven cloth. The fabric was a 
speciality of Central Gujarat and particularly of Broach. The phrase "as 
white as Baftas" corrupted into Gujarati ‘basta*, preserves the word even to- 
day. Sholas were fine turban cloths; asmanl was blue coloured cloth. 

See also, Thevenot ( 1660). 


this period (1526-1751); and although as a port it began to decline in import- 
ance in the 17th century, after Surat became the ‘ Gateway of Mecca its 
manufactiu'e did not. Besides Baftas, ‘Chautar’ (thickly woven fabrics of 
four threads, used generally as bed-sheets), Cotonias or Sail-cloth, many- 
coloured quilts” and pavilions of diverse sorts and colours, it produced many 
fabrics both good and cheap — some of them, indeed, made of yam so fine, 
that it could hardly be perceived by the naked eye. It is said they surpassed 
any Holland cloth in fineness. Hamilton, in the first quarter of the 18th 
century, found in Cambay an abundance of cotton, silk and fine embroidery 
and lovely quilts costing £ 40 each. 

Broach was the chief manufacturing centre for Bafta, which was sold 
at Rs. 50 a piece, of 14 x i yards. The English and the Dutch had established 
their factories there, freighting five or six ships every year with Bafta.” 
Tavernier relates one interesting incident about the fine fabric of Broach. 
He says, " Mahmad Ali Beg, when returning to Persia from his embassy to 
India, presented Shah Shaffi II, with a cocoanut of the size of an ostrich’s 
egg, enriched with precious stones, and when it was opened, a turban was 
drawn from it, 60 cubits in length and of a muslin so fine that you would 
scarcely know that it was that you had in your hand.” Such stuff, 
obviously, must have been but rarely produced; but there is little doubt that 
Gujarat could procure fabrics as fine in texture and superior in workmanship 
as Bengal muslins. 

The special charm of this fabric lay in the exquisite bleaching thereof 
by the artisans, who first soaked it in lemon juice and then washed it in the 
soft waters of the river Narmada. As lemons abounded in the neighbour- 
hood of Broach, fabrics from Agra, Lahore and Bengal were brought there 
in a crude condition for bleaching (Tavernier, i, 65; ii, 5-6; ii, 65). 

The pieces of Bafta which cost anything from four to a hundred rupees 
during his time, are mentioned a century earlier as ranging from to 50 
rupees.” This not only shows the rise in prices due to the growing competition 
with European companies, but also what a variety of cloth must have been 

76. Probably Soznis — in which every square inch is padded with cotton, while it is 
being woven. They are still made in Punjab and elsewhere. 

77. Della Velle (1623) remarks that “the fabrics were packed up in very great 
bales, each as big as Roman coach, and every piece of this cloth was little bigger 
than one of our towels, which would be sold for not less than six crowns in 
Italy, whence you may infer what wealth comes out of this small city alone, 
which for compass and buildings is not greater than Siena of Tuscany, although 
it is above three times populous, and you may also consider to what sum the 
prices of costumes arise !” — ( Travels in India, Haklyt Society, pp, 60-61). 

78. Abul Fazl (1582), Ain-l-Akhart, i, ain 32. 



produced by Broach looms ! Cotton yarn, also, was exported in large quantities 
from Broach, and was bought by the Dutch to make the candle-wicks and stock- 
ings, and to mix with the yarn for silken stuffs. It is recorded that from 10 
to 20 maunds of yarn per day was produced all the year round, varying from 
7 to 20 pice per seer. Bought at 14 d. per lb. in India, it realised 2/9 pence in 
England. Both plain-reeled and cross-reeled were in demand. The price, 
which was 8-10 mamudis (a Gujarat coin worth about 10 d. = 1/3 rupee) per 
maund in 1609, went up to 20-40 mamudis per maund in 1657. Its export 
to England began to decline only after 1740, when England had begun to 
export cotton goods of her own manufacture. The town maintained its position 
intact during the 18th century, as we can see from the accounts of Hamilton 
(1727) and Stavorinus (1780), the latter of whom observes that various 
kinds of piece goods, such as coarse and coloured cottons, as well as fine 
chequered and striped doreds, were manufactured in Broach and its vicinity. 

In Southern Gujarat, Surat was the chief port of the Mughal Empire 
on the Western Coast, and merchants from the three continents thronged 
its bazars to deal in the coveted commodities of the East, which were stored 
there. Persian and Armenian traders, specially, were drawn to it by the 
variety of excellent cloth manufactured there, chiefly various kinds of head- 
dresses for women and cloths for veils, scarlet and white, of exceeding 
fineness. The people seem to have excelled in the arts of weaving and 
embroidery, judging by the rich huttdddrs and jdmddnis made by them. The 
other towns where calicos, baftas and coarse fabrics were manufactured 
were Gandevi, Navsari, and Balsar. 

Gujarat maintained its supremacy in the matter of cotton manufactures 
right up to the end of Mughal rule in the province, having no rival, then, 
worth the name to contend with. But its supremacy in the art and monopoly 
of the world’s trade were not long left unchallenged. Even before the end of 
this period a rival industry in Lancashire had begun to encroach upon its 
markets. In 1721, riots and tumult amongst the weavers of London resulted 
in an Act of Parliament absolutely prohibiting the wear of Indian calicos, 
which, by then, ha(^ come to be universally known, both for apparel and for 
household use. This, combined with the invention of Crompton’s Mule in 
1779, was the beginning of the end for India as far as economic prosperity was 
concerned. But not even long years of competition between machine-made 
and hand-woven cotton-cloth have succeeded in crushing entirely our home- 
industry. The hand-loom is still at work in every district.’® 

79, “The hand-made cotton fabrics compete in the market with an immense import 
of machine-made goods; but the few fabrics for which the workers still hold a 
reputation will probably continue for many years to be in steady demand/’ 
^Imperial Gazetteer, VIII, p. 324. 



Of all the crafts of Gujarat, none is so popular as (1) that of the 
Rangrez or Dyer, and (2) that of the Chhipagar or Calico-printer. Vari- 
coloured cotton is most commonly used for raiment, and the more brilliant 
its colours, the greater its appeal for the colour-loving people of this 
sunshiny country. There is a bewildering variety of costume; each caste, 
festive season or ceremonial occasion has distinctive colour all its own. 
No wonder, therefore, that the dyer is never out of work ! Calico- 
printing was a speciality of Ahmedabad, Baroda, Broach, Kaira and Surat, 
and the popularity of the Chhipagar is still second only to that of the dyer. 

‘Bandhani’ or ‘tie-dyeing’, a speciality of Gujarat, is a process which 
is simple in theory but so laborious in practice that it could only have been 
invented or pursued in a country where human labour was valued at an 
abnormally low figure,” True; but the exquisite skill and craftsmanship it 
requires make of it a fine art in itself. Portions of a fabric are tied up with 
thread and soaked in some resistant material, such as fuller’s earth, castor 
oil, bee’s-wax or gum, according to fixed design. The untied portion is then 
dyed, while the tied portions are dipped in colours brighter than the ground. 
Then the threads are unwound, or further portions are tied up and coloured 
until the design is completed. When the threads are all unwound, a 
beautiful, intricate pattern in multi-coloured dots is revealed. This art is 
still extant in Rajputana, Gujarat, Kaccha and Saurastra : but Jamnagar 
is the most famed for this sort of tie-dyeing. ‘ Bdndhanl wave-striped 
‘Lahcriu’ and Red ‘C/iundadi’ are most suitable for feminine apparel and 
great favourites with women; but men, too, use Bandhani for turbans. 

Silk-weaving was exquisitely done, both with and without gold thread, 
in Surat, Ahmedabad and Cambay. Tavernier says, that of the 22,000 bales 
of raw silk produced at Kasimbazar, the 10,000 bales or thereabouts which 
remained in the country after meeting foreign demands were brought to 
Gujarat for being woven into silk fabrics. The MirdUi-Ahmadl refers not less 
than three times to the manufacture, in Royal Workshops at Ahmedabad, of 
the most expensive velvet pavilions and canopies worth a lac of rupees 
each, which were sent on great occasions to the court of the Emperor, and 
erected on the palace-grounds. Surat, especially, was famous for its silk and 
gold carpets. Besides these, Satins, Taffetas and Patolas (silken stuff, and 
all embellished with flowers) were made in great quantities at Surat, Ahme- 
dabad and Patan. 

The Patolas of Patan have been famous since the days of the Solan- 
kls and even earlier. In ‘Patola’, bundles of multi-coloured warp and 

80. Imperial Gazetteer j p. 187, 



weft are so arranged that when woven, each colour appears at the exact 
place where it is required by the exigencies of the pattern, and, what 
is most curious, there is no ‘wrong’ side to the completed fabric. The 
lovely wedding Sarees of Gujarat are made of Patola silk." The silk Sarees 
of Saura^tra, especially the embroidered ones, can hardly be equalled 
throughout India for finish and beauty of colouring. We can learn from con- 
temporary poets that silk was made in Patan and rough quilts and blankets 
of wool in Sorath. The popular saying “ qq ” shows 

that the colour-printing on Patola silk never fades, even though the silk 
itself be decayed. 

The next craft to deserve mention is Embroidery, which is at its zenith 
in Kaccha and Saurastra. “It is a peculiarity of all Indian needle-work,” ob- 
serves the Imperial Gazetteer, “that the needle is pulled away from, not 
drawn towards, the operator. The stitch used materially influences the 
nature of the designs adopted. Curves are almost impossible with darn or 
satin-stitches, but are easily made by chain-stitch (Sahkll-nu-Bharat). Darn 
stitch is employed on coarser cotton, while chain-stitch is used on silk or 
woollen fabrics. The former covers the material, the latter ornaments certain 
portions of it. 

Among the artistic kinds of embroidery produced in Gujarat and 
Saurastra, may be mentioned ‘Ful-fcari’ and ‘Shisdddr’ (glass-worked). 
In Shisadar Fulkaris, a striking effect is produced by the insertion of small 
pieces of glass within the design, which are held in position by button-hole 
stitches. This habit of using mirror-glass in embroidery is very wide-spread 
in Northern and Peninsular Gujarat. In Saurastra one sees it on women’s 
skirts and bodices and on the head-dresses of children. In Saurastra Chaklas, 
the satin-stitch is mostly used in the needle work of the peasant, as the 
chain-stitch is in that of the upper classes. These embroidered handkerchiefs 
are made of coarse blue cotton cloth, so completely covered with purple 
silk that hardly a trace of the original material is visible. Saurastra is one 
of the great centres of chain-stitch work, and its brilliantly embroidered 
skirts, bodices, handkerchiefs and curtains are deservedly admired; but the 
best chain work in India is done in Bhuj, the capital of Kaccha. 

81 . “gqt I qw i 

••• ••• ••• 


‘Loba^i’ is from Sanskrit Loman— hair; hence hair of §hcep and goats woven 
into a cloth, mostly used by cowherds, 



Kiasuh borders, or Kora, which are sewn on the Sarees and other 
garments were produced in profusion in Surat and Ahmedabad. 

Carpet-weaving, according to the reports of old travellers, flourished 
in the ancient city of Cambay. This art, like many others, was introduced 
from Persia.* 

It would be in the fitness of things to end this chapter with a quotation 
from Padre Ovington (1690) who says ; “The Indians (meaning the 
Gujaratis) are in many things of matchless ingenuity in their several 
implements and admirable mimics of whatever they affect to copy after. 
The Bania by the strength of his brain only will sum up his accounts with 
equal exactness and quicker dispatch than the readiest arithmetician can 
with his pen. The weavers of silk, exactly imitate the nicest and the most 
beautiful patterns that are brought from Europe; and the very ship-carpenter 
at Surat will take the model of any English vessel, in all the curiosity 
of its building, and the most artificial instances of workmanship about it, 
whether they are proper for the convenience of burthen or of quick sailing, 
as if they had been the first contrivers.”* 

82. See, Kavi Dalpatram’s poem, with the refrain 

“Wsfl sr: ft? »n? ^ 311?%”— 

originally composed for the Hope Reading Series. See also Navalram, in the 
poem named “Gujarat-ni-Musafari” in Naval Garhavali. 

83. SaurSsp^ians are described as robbers and thieves in old books. Princep (India/u 
Antiquities, Vol. II, p. 425) interprets these allusions as meaning, “exploiters 
in trade". 

Cf. also the description of Gujarat given in “Nabhinandanajinoddhara 
Prabandha ” ( 14th century). 

“ §3 3j^3 i ' 

One Vyahkatadhvari, the author of ft^g<>n?i^^ (circa 1640), a poet hailing from 
Telang in the Deccan, being struck with the wealth of the Gujaratis during the 
Mughul supremacy, writes in glowing terms about their trade and enterprise, 
and their business in jewellery which brings them immense wealth. It may be 
noted here that Gujarati jewellers had almost monopolized then, as now, the 
trade in diamonds, pearls and other precious stones which were exported from 
Surat to the Portuguese ports in Europe. 

Accordingly we find in Vinaycandra’s Kdvya-siksa (12th century MSS. 
in Oriental Institute, Baroda) that the Gujaratis are called “looters of 
wealth”, because of the fat profits they obtained from business. (Cf. 

* e 

gsro I) 

Chapter 4 




W E now review the political heritage of Gujarat, which will be, so to 
say, a chronological narrative of the political vicissitudes of the land 
of Gujarat. 

The state starts its work of nation-making at some convenient 
geographical point which serves as a natural nucleus for its expansion. This 
done, communication is established between all parts of the consolidated 
territory by means of roads; to be followed later on, by spiritual bonds, which 
further cement the unity already created. Under the Mughal Viceroys, for 
instance, a uniform law obtained throughout Gujarat, uniting men’s minds 
in a common adherence to common standards of conduct. 

The State, it is believed, precedes and moulds the Society. The 
language of the governing classes, for example, usually becomes the language 
of the governed. Persian was established as the court-language of Gujarat 
at the instance of Todar Mai, which accounts for the Persian, Arabic and 
Urdu words, an important part of the Gujarati vocabulary. 

The State, of course, does not create the national language, but it can 
turn a local dialect into a national possession, as was done with Apabhrarhsa 
by Siddharaja.* Apabhrarhsa was the national language of Gujaratis 
in the 11th and 12th centuries A. D. Bhoja, in his Sarasvati-Kanthdhharana 
refers to the partiality of the Gurjaras in general for Apabhrarhsa, ‘‘aurffitH 
^ i ” Rajasekhara, also, observes in his Kdivya Mimdmsd 

that the people of Lhta are so fond of Prakrt that they hate Sanskit, while 
the people of northern Gujarat and Saurastra speak Sanskrt, embellished 
with a dash of Apabhrarhsa i) etc. 

1. Siddharaja was instrumental in getting a i^tandard grammar of Apabhrarhsa 
composed by Hemacandra Suri, for use in the schools in Gujarat, supplanting 
those already in use. This gave a great impetus to the study of this particular 
variety of Prakrt, and a regular literature sprang up, both prose and poetry. 
Vide “Dvasraya Kdvya", the verse “ ” — etc. 




Out of this Apabhraihsa was evolved ancient Gujariti, or Old Western 
Rajasthani (as scholars name it), which was spoken both by the people of 
southern Rajputana and the people of Gujarat. But in the beginning of the 
16th century, a re-adjustment of the Subhas (provinces) under Akbar gave 
rise to a bifurcation in Old Western Rajasthani; and Mediaeval Gujarati came 
into being — a language entirely different from Marwadi, also an offspring 
of Western Rajasthani, which was, and still is, spoken in Northern Gujarit. 


. The history of political background might, with convenience, be divided 
into four periods, as under : — 

(i) The earlier period, 300 B.C. to 789 A. D. (the probable date of the 
fall of Valabhipura). 

(ii) The rule of the Anhilwad kings, from the reign of Vanaraja* (880 A.D. 
Saka Sam vat 802), the founder of the city of that name, to the defeat of 
Karna Vaghela in 1297 A. D., marking the end of paramount Hindu 
rule in Gujarat, at the hands of the Mahomedans. 

(iii) The period of Mahomedan rule upto 1752 A. D., when the Gaekwad 
took Ahmedabad, the Mahomedan capital of Gujarat, and the last 
vestige of Mughal supremacy had disappeared; and 

(iv) The Mixed rule of Peshwa and Gaekwad, the Gaekwad remaining 
supreme, until the annexation of the Peshwa’s territories in Gujarat 
by the British in 1818 A. D. 

(i) The Early Period (300 B. C. to 789 A. D.) 

The history of Gujarat began in the very dim past, when a flourishing 
trade existed between it and the Persian Gulf as well as the Arabian coast. 
We have no records unfortunately of the ages preceding Candragupta 
Maurya’s conquest of the country in about 300 B. C., which is the date of 
the authentic history of Gujarat. The ancient inscription regarding lake 
Sudarsana (150 A. D.) ascribes certain repairs and improvements to a 
brother-in-law of Candragupta’s, and to a Yavana governor of Asoka. 

After the decay of the Maurya Empire, “some of the Graeco-Bactrian 
princes seem to have exercised a fitful influence over Saurastra and 
part of mainland of Gujarat. Menander (Milinda) (150B. C.), a lover of 
Buddhism, is said to have ruled in Sindh and Saurastra. The Bactrians, in 
their turn, gave way before the powerful Scythians from Central Asia. 

• See, H. G. Shastri, “The Problem of the Chronology of Cavadti Kings” 
Indian History Congress, Ahmedabad Session, 1955, 


These Western Satrap or Ksatrapa chiefs governed Gujarat and Malwa 
during the first century A. D., benefiting by the trade with Rome, which 
sprang up about 40 A. D. and brought immense and steadily increasing 
wealth to the cities of the West Coast; but came into collision with the 
powerful Andhra dynasty of the Deccani Satavahanas. The possessions 
of Nahapana, one of the greatest of these Western Ksatrapas, included 
the Western part of the Deccan in addition to Gujarat and Malwa. He 
was unquestionably the ruler of a flourishing kingdom, extending from 
Mandsor in the north to Dahanu in the south, the eastern boundary includ- 
ing Nasik and the Western Saurastra. 

This king was defeated by Gautamiputra Satakarni, the powerful 
Andhra king, in about 126 A. D., and the power of the Ksatrapas was broken. 
Northern Gujarat was then governed by a Ksatrapa who sprang from a differ- 
ent stock named Castan, whose capital was Ujjayini, and whose descendants 
became independent, called themselves Maha-Ksatrapas, and ruled up to very 
nearly the end of the fourth century A. D. 

The greatest Ksatrapa was Rudradaman, grandson of Castana, a mighty 
conqueror and lord of Anarta, Saurastra, Svabhra, Maru, Kaccha, Sindhu, 
Sauvira, Aparanta, Nisada and other territories. He recovered from the 
Andhra ruler Gautamiputra Satakarni (his son-in-law) the provinces of 
Western Deccan and Kohkan, and was the author of the famous inscription at 
Girnar (our chief authority for history of Gujarat from 300 B.C, to 2nd Century 
A.D.), wherein he described himself as one “who took and kept to the end 
of his life the vow to stop the killing of men except in battle^. He appears to 
have been a wise and capable ruler, for it is recorded that he expended on 
his public works “a great amount of money from his own treasury, without 
oppressing the people of the town and the country by the exacting of 
(special) taxes, forced labour and gifts“. 

Candragupta II of Pataliputra overthrew the Ksatrapas and took 
Gujarat in C. 400 A.D. The early Ksatrapas, it would seem, were unpopular 
with the natives because of their strange ways and gods, but the Greek 
Ksatrapas were Hindus by religion, were distinguished patrons of the Indian 
religions, and used classical Sanskrt in their official and inscriptional 
records. Nevertheless, as Sakas, they continued to be unpopular, and so, 
when the last Ksatrapa of Malwa, Gujarat £md Saurastra was overthrown 
by the northern emperor Candragupta II (Vikramaditya), the latter took 
the title of “the foe of the Sakas’’ (Sakdri), the designation of the Vikrama- 
ditya of Indian Legend. After Candragupta II, Kumaragupta added 
Saurastra to Gujarat and Skandagupta (454-470 A. D.) added Kaccha to 
both. Malwa, Kaccha and Gujarat continued to be ruled by the Gupta 



The people utilised the sea, and were traders by profession. Population is 
dense and the establishments are rich and well supplied with materials.” 

The city of Valabhipura was a place of great wealth when visited by 
Hiuen Tsang in the 7th century, and was famous in Buddhist church-history 
as having been the residence of two distinguished teachers Gunamati and 
Sthiramati, in the 6th century. I-tsing, a junior contemporary of Hiuen 
Tsang, tells us that ‘*in his time Nalanda in South Bihar and Valabhi were the 
two places in India which deserved comparison with most famous centres of 
learning in China, and were frequented by crowds of eager students, who 
commonly devoted two or three years to attendance at lectures on Buddhistic 
philosophy.” After the overthrow of Valabhipura its place as the chief city 
of Western India was taken by Anhilwad (Naharwala or Patan) which re- 
tained honour until 1412 A. D., when it was superseded by Ahmedabad. 
The Calukyas of Badami were also the foes of Broach Gurjaras (who ruled 
southern Gujarat till about 692 A. D., as known from a copper-plate from 
Surat), with whom they had to fight. 

In the beginning of the 8th century which saw the entrance of the 
Mahomedans into Indian politics, the Tajikas or Arabs were a fresh foe 
which the Gurjaras had to encounter. These Arabs, taking advantage of 
the footing they had gained in Sindh in 722 A. D., used to make frequent 
raids in all the neighbouring countries: Marwad, Maliba (Malwa), Barus 
(Broach), Uzani (Ujjain), Bhinnmal and Jurz (Gujarat); and they over- 
ran the greater part of Gujarat and Saurastra, having defeated Gurjaras 
along with the Saindhavas, Cavotakas, Mauryas and the people of Saura- 
stra. Their rising power led to the overthrow of the Broach Gurjara 
dynasty as well, also, to the sack of Valabhipura, a little later. 

During the reign of Vikramaditya I, the son of Pulakesi II (during 
whose reign Hiuen Tsang visited Maharastra), the paramount sovereign of 
the country “between the three seas”, a branch of the Calukya dynasty was 
founded in Southern Gujarat or Lata with Navasari as the capital. This 
Pulakesi was so powerful as to vanquish an army of Tajikas or Arabs 
(between 711 A. D. and 753 A. D.) which had destroyed the Saindhava, 
Kaccha, Saurastra, Cavotaka, Maurya, Gurjara and other kings and on its 
way to Daksinapatha to conquer the Southern kings, had come to Navasari 
to reduce that country first. But after a few decades, the sovereignty of 
the country passed into the hands of the Rastrakutas. 

Almost simultaneously the Gurjaras of Rajputana and Kanauj who 
were further styled ‘Pratihmras’ came into prominence, whose sway over 
southern Gujarat however had slackened, owing to the rise of powerful 


dynasties in the Deccan, as known from an inscription that hing 

Dantidurga’s (745 A. D.) elephants rent asunder the banks of the river Mahi 
and Narmada”. Govind III, also called ‘Jagattuhga’ (780-815 A. D ), the 
greatest of the Ra^ti^akutas, conquered many countries in the north including 
Malwa and Lata or southern Gujarat, appointing a separate governor for the 
latter — the first being his brother Indraraja, whose descendants exercised 
direct sway over Gujarat upto 974 A. D,, quite independently of the main 
Deccan Rastrakutas, when in that year Tailapa of Northein Calukya clan 
conquered the last king. 

The balance of power between the Gurjaras and the Rastrakutas lasted 
for about two centuries (750-950 A. D.). Neither kingdom was strong enough 
to encroach to any large extent upon the territory of the other — a state of 
things to which the dissensions between the Ra^tiakutas of the main line and 
the branch that ruled in Gujarat may have contributed. These Ra^t^akuta 
kings were by religion Saivites, though later kings appear to have an inclina- 
tion towards Jainism. 

It is remarkable that in spite of continuous wars, both the Rastrakuta 
and the Gurjara kingdoms enjoyed great prosperity. Arab travellers inform 
us that “in their territory property was secure, theft or robbery was unknown, 
commerce was encouraged and foreigners were treated with consideration 
and respect.” Ibn Haukal (976 A. D.) writes that, “in the tongue of land 
from Kambaya (Cambay) to Sainpur (Chaul) the villages lie close to one an- 
other and there is much land under cultivation.” The trade with the Persian 
Gulf revived, and brought with it an influx of Parsi refugees (806 A. D. 
and 825 A.D.), who found a ready welcome at the hands of chiefs who 
honoured impartially Siva, Buddha and Jina. But this revival of trade 
was attended with a great outburst of piracy, in which the daring sailors of 
Western Saurastra took a leading part. 

(ii) The Anhilwad Kings (810-1297 A. D.) 

From the 6th'century A. D. foreigners had poured into northern India. 
But from the 8th to the 12th century A. D., the country was left strangely — 
to its own devices, being comparatively free from foreign invasions. The 
Cavadas, apparently a branch off the Capotkatas, or Capa of Bhinnmal 
(supposed to have sprung from the Capa or bow of Siva) taking advantage 
of the confusion caused by the Mahomedan raids, and aided by the Gurjaras 
of Bhinnmal, founded the kingdom of Anhilwad (810 A. D.) which, for the 
next fifty years extended all over Rajputana and Malwa, threatened Bengal, 
and eventually shifted its centre to Kanauj. 


tvtrvtiAL assToitv or mHAAAf 

There was a small chiefship of Capas at Paficasar and the last chief, it 
is said, was killed by some imknown assailant called Bh&vada. His queen, 
wandering in a forest, gave birth to a posthumous son, who later became 
famous as Vanaraja (King of the Forest)/ Stalwart and fearless, he started 
life as a free*booter. A convoy of treasure amounting to 24 lakhs of silver 
drammas, falling into his hands on its way to Kanyakubja", to which the 
country was subject, he was enabled to enlist an army and foimd a capital— 
Anhilwad Patan — in the Sarasvata Mandal (the region of the river Sarasvat!) 
in Northern Gujarat. 

These Cavadas, although yet in fact always independent in name, 
were subordinate to Kanauj, though the Gurjara empire manifested at this 
period, a tendency to break up into separate states. Whether Vanaraja 
had to fight the Arabs is not known; but it is certain" that the Arabs 
did fall foul of, and defeat, some Capa king during their attempted 
invasion of the Deccan. Vanaraja*.s son Yogaraja seems to have been a 
subordinate chief to Mihira Bhoja, the then emperor of Kanauj. Except 
for some names and dates, derived from the later Jaina Prabandha- 
karas, we have imfortunately but little information regarding these Cavadas 
of Patan, probably because they remained feudatories of Kanauj, and 
tolerably free from warfare with the neighbouring kings. They appear to 
have been Saivas like almost all the prominent Rajaputs of the time, and, 
later on, patrons of Jainism. A minor Chapa branch at Vardhamana 
(Wadhwan) is known to have ruled over Sorath.' 

Mularaja Solanki was the founder of the Calukya dynasty in 
Anhilwad. It is certain he was no adventurer as some say, because he is 

4. Vanaraja Prabandfia. 

5. Pahcasar was destroyed, not by Bhuvada, but by the Arabs, in about 810 
A. D., nor was Bhuvada the same Bhuvanaditya Calukya of Badaml, as the 
Calukya capital of Kalyao was not founded until 1U53. It has been suggest- 
ed (Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. 1, p. 150, 156, II, p. 427 foot-note 3) that Kanya* 
kubja is a mistake for Karpakubja, an old name of Junagadh. 

— H. G. Rawlinson’s Note, Rdtamdld, I, page 36. 

6. Cf. The Navsari grant. 

7. For details see Mm. GauriSankar Oza’s article on “ JJTOS ^ sfhc ^ 

tIsiraSt ifil ” 

An inscription grant dated 917 A. D., of Dharapi Varaha’s, a dependent 
under Mahlpaladeva of Kanauj, to an Acirya of the Amardaka Santana (Saiva 
sect) showing that in Gujarfit at that time Siva worship was quite common, 
and these Saiva ascetics lived in Mathas built for them, much as the Buddhists 
used to live in Sahgharams. 


mentioned as * Maharajadhiraja’ (king of kings) in copper-plates. Probably 
there was misrule in the country and Mularaja, ruler in some part of Norths 
ern Rajputana, acquired the kingdom by force of arms and restored order. 
He ruled justly and vigorously from 942-997 A. D.** He had, of course, to 
fight with his kingly neighbours, the rulers, for instance, of Kaccha and Sindh; 
he is said to have defeated one Grharipu who was assisted by Khengar, king 
of Kaccha and the Arabs from Sindh, and thus obtained possession of 
Somanath. Mularaja had also to fight Vigraharaja of Sambhar from the 
North, and Barappa of Lata from the south of Gujarat. The latter was, most 
probably, a general of king Tailapa of Karnataka, Lata being a dependency 
of Karnataka, and is said to have been killed in battle. All that Mularaja ori- 
ginally acquired, however, was the ‘ Sarasvata Mandala : it was only towards 
the middle of the twelth century that the Calukya records began to refer to 
this land as ‘Gurjarabhumi’“', and their kings as the ^ kings of Gurjara- 
bhumi^ Inheriting Anhilwad from his mother, he had extended its frontiers 
in all directions. Kaccha and Sorath came under his sway; his standards flew 
victoriously beyond the Narmada; his supremacy was acknowledged by the 
Paramara prince of Acalgadh on Mount Abu; and under him the chivalrous 
knight-errants of Marwad and Northern India followed, for the first time, 
the banners of Gurjara Rastra. 

The declining years of Mularaja’s life were dedicated to religion. He 
built a Siva temple at Patan. He invited learned Brahmins from different 
parts of India, and settled them at Siddhapura and elsewhere, bestowing lands 
and villages upon them. Many Brahmins of Gujarat, such as the Audicyas 
and Gaudas claim to have entered Gujarat as his guests. Mularaja was 
succeeded by his son Camunda (998-1010) who killed Sindhuraja of Malwa 
in battle.” ‘'He was attenuated in person and yellow in his complexion, very 
fond of eating and drinking, and of handsome dress. He cultivated good 
trees in his garden, but he built wells and tanks. He had no enemy but 
the Yavana.” 

Bhima I, the grandson of Camunda, was a powerful king, ruled long 
(43 years) and was a contemporary of king Bhoja of Malwa and king Karna 
of Cedis (C. P.), both strong and able rulers. Kulacandra, a Jaina general 

8. The date of Mularaja’s accession is settled by the Sambhar inscription (pub- 
lished in the Annual Report for 1926 of the Sardar Museum, Jodhpur) as 
Samvat 998 (942 A. D.). 

9. Ind, Ant, Vol. VI. 

10. Ind. Ant, Vol. VI, No. 8, dated Samvat 1280. 

11. The Vadanagar Prasasti of Kumarapala. 



of Bhoja once invaded Gujarat in Bhima’s absence, occupied his capital 
Anhilwad, and looted it so thoroughly that the sack of Kulacandra became 
proverbial. Bhima, with his cavalry, retorted by a sudden raid on Dhara, 
captured it and plundered it. But Bhima and Bhoja soon made friends 
again, each having his Agent at the court of the other,*® In spite 

of his successes in Malwa, however, Bhima was not entitled to be called 
lord of Malava (3Tcrf^?RPT). It is said that Karna of Cedi was presented 
with a golden palanquin by Bhoja whom he had defeated in battle; and 
Bhima, defeating both Bhoja and Karna, seized the golden palanquin and 
presented it to his tutelary deity, Somanath of Prabhasa Pattan. 

Be that as it may, it is certain that all the three kings were equals in 
power and quite good friends when they were not fighting one another. It 
was during Bhima’s reign that the “sun of the Rajputs began to decline 
before the Muslim crescent, when a strange and furious invader burst upon 
the plains of India, and ancient dynasties were shaken/* 

The town of Somanath being a port of call for ships sailing between 
Africa and China, its fame was carried to distant countries by the sailors, who 
probably looked upon it as their patron god. This led Mahmud to undertake 
the sack of Somanath (1026 A. D,). Bhima, it is said, took refuge in the fort 
of Kan^hakot in Kaccha, only attacking Mahmud*s army when it turned 
homeward, laden with booty, and compelling it to change its route, and 
driving Mahmud into the Sindh desert where no less than a tenth of his 
followers perished of fatigue and starvation.*^ 

Bhima ruled well and refused pardon to the crimes of incontinence. 
He was clever at apprehending thieves and he punished them so that 

12. Damodara, an envoy of A^ihilwad, has been described as a "witty and clever 

13. An Inscription at Somanath records that Bhima built a stone-temple for 
Somanath in the place of the wooden one which had existed before, and king 
Bhoja of Mfilwa also is said to have built a similar temple for Somanath (Vide 
l/depuro Prasas/i, Epi. II, p. 22), from which we conclude that this temple was 
the joint work of Bhoja and Bhima. 

14. The Sultan is said to have marched from Multan and thence along the low 
ridge that traverses the fort of Jaisalmer to' Anhilwad Patap. From Pata^i 
he proceeded to Mudhera and then straight across Saura^ti'a peninsula to Del- 
wada and Somanath. 

— See Life and Times of Sultan Mahumad of Ghazna by Dr. Mahumad Nazim 
(1931), p. 218. 

— See also The Cambridge History of India, Vol. I, p. 23. He is said to have 
returned via Kaccha, Sindh and Multan fearing to be intercepted by Bhoja of 
Malwa, on his way back. 


offences of depredation diminished in his reign. He so cherished life that 
even the wolf in the forest was restrained from killing.’*^ His generous 
refusal to accept his share of land-produce from his cultivators in a time of 
scarcity, at the instance of his prince Mularaja has already been referred to.” 
Bhima’s son Karna (1064-1094) had a peaceful reign, with but few 
martial adventures. He built a large reservoir called ' Karna Sagar ’ and 
his mother Udayamati built a step-well in Patan which was known as 
‘ Rani’s Vava\ He also founded a city by subduing one of the Mewasi 
chiefs — Asa Bhil, named it ‘Karnavati’, and made it his second capital. 
This city is the ancient site of modern Ahmedabad. He built many temples 
to Siva and Durga, and according to the Hammlra^Carita he died in a 
battle with Dussala of Sakambhari. Karna Solahki was the first ruler of 
Gujarat on record to put a curb on the wild tribes between the south of 
Anhilwad and north of Sabarmati— the Bhils and Kolis — thus securing in- 
ternal peace in his kingdom. His encouragement of a painter from the South 
led to his marriage with Minaldevi, a princess of the Kadaihba family of 
Karnataka, for beauty portrayed by the skilful artist completely ravished 
his heart. Their son, the illustrious Siddharaja Jayasirhha was a minor 
when Karna died; and the widowed queen carried on the Government with 
the aid of capable devoted ministers. 

Siddharaja turned out to be the most powerful of all the Calukyas in 
Gujarat. He was a great builder, and every ancient structure in Gujarat is 
popularly attributed to him. He enlarged the famous ‘ Rudra Mahalaya ’ 
temple of Siva at Siddhapura now mostly in ruins and the Sahasralinga-Lake 
at Patan. He was also a notable warrior. He carried on a war with Malwa 
which lasted for twelve years, beginning with an invasion of Malwa in the 
reign of Naravarman, and ending with the defeat and imprisonment of 
Yasovarman, his son. Malwa and Gujarat had long been enemies and 
there had been constant fighting between them since the days of Naravar- 
man (1133 A. D.)." Yasovarman, who had been captured with his family, 
is said to have been kept in a wooden cage in Anhilwad. “ He annexed 

15. Dwdsraya Kdvya. 

16. The incident tells us that the cultivator of Gujarat was then in character much 
as he is now as regards stubbornness when assailed with demands, as well as 
sensibility to kindness. — Rasa Mala I, p. 99. 

17. The relations between Gujarat and Malw’a, even during the times of the 
Sultans of Ahmedabad are handed down to us in two proverbs: 

t JR ik ^ 

JR 5 JTr«s^ 5n3, I'll ?i^Ji JR? 5 H 

18. This seems to be true, as it is mentioned in an inscription of Jayasimha him- 
self. — Ind. Ant, X, p. 109. 



Malwa and sent a Jaina minister to govern it. His title (hiruda) 'Avantt- 
natha* proves that a large part of Malwa, with Ujjayini and Dhara remained 
for some time in the possession of the Calukyas. With the annexation of 
Malwa, its possessions which included the fort of Citod, also passed into 
the hands of the Solahkls.'’ 

The imprisoned Yasovarman, however, contrived to escape after a 
while and, aided by a Cauhana king of Ajmer, to regain some part of his 
dominions. Also, he made his peace with Jayasimha. 

Siddharaja after an attack on Dhara, went on and fought Madanpala 
Candela and extracted tribute from him. From an inscription it appears 
that he also conquered and annexed Kaccha, ruling it through a governor. 
Saivite tendencies brought the Solahkis into collision with the Cudasamas of 
Girnar (940-1125 A. D.) who commanded the road to Somanath Patan, the 
place of pilgrimage. Ra Khehgar I, a descendant of Grharipu, was a heredi- 
tary enemy of the Solahkis. Ra Khehgar II (1098-1125 A. D.) was defeated 
and killed by Siddharaja, who then sent one Sajjan as Viceroy to the annex- 
ed territory of Junagadh. He is also called ‘Barharaka Jisnu’ in inscrip- 
tions, having conquered Barharaka reputed to be the king of demons 
or devils in legends, which, it is said, gave him such power over devils and 
goblins that he became practically omnipotent. It is suggested that the ‘ Bar- 
baras ’ of the Hindu Puranas, or the ‘Babarias’ who settled in south 
Kathiawar, may be identified with the Berbers, some non- Aryan tribe from 
North India or Arabia. It is quite possible that Siddharaja defeated a formi- 
dable Arab invasion from Sindh.'" 

Jayasithha was, like Bhoja, a patron of learning; and many great 
Pandits, both Jaina and Hindu, found encouragement at his court. Stories 
are told of his nocturnal ramblings in disguise, and of his in cognito visits to 
the theatre or to domestic entertainments, much like the great Vikrama, the 

19. An inscription of V. S. 1207 obtained from Citod, described the victory of 

Kumarapala, the successor of Siddharaja, over An;joraja of Sapadalak$a 
(Ajmer); and how he went to see Citod, and there gave' away one village for 
the maintenance of a Siva temple. Another .fragmentary inscription recently 
found at the same place and brought to light by Pandit Gaurisapkar Oza, states 
that the fort of Chitod belonged to Kumarapala and a governor was stationed 
there by him. It remained a possession of the Solankis until it was finally 
wrested from Ajayapala Solahki by Samantasiihha of Mewad in 1230-1233 
Samvat.— See Gaurisankar Oza’s Address on ‘ tR gsRRTRr 

as President, Historical section. Ninth Gujarati Sahitya 

Parishad, 1928. 

20. C. V. Vaidya, p. 199. 


pliilantliropist. The greatest among the Pan^ts who graced his court was 
Eemacandra, whose ‘Grammar’ was, by royal order, “placed upon the head 
of one of the royal elephants”, and, with due pomp and ceremony, “conveyed 
to the treasury of the palace.” Foremost amongst the poets and warriors 
that flocked to the court of Siddharaja was Jagaddeva Paramar, a prince of 
the Kadamba family of Goa. 

Jayasiihha, then, was surely most powerful, most religious and most 
generous. Requested by his mother to lighten the burden of tax that lay 
heavy upon pilgrims bound for Somanath, he remitted it altogether cheer* 
fully, sacriflcing an income of about one lakh of rupees. It is also said that 
he paid off the debts of all the debtors in his kingdom, and thus deserved to 
be called “Cakravartin”, Emperor and “Saka Karta”, or “Founder of an 
Era”; for it is a common belief in India that the founder of an era must 
pay off the debts of all the debtors in his kingdom.” 

His reign saw the kingdom at the very height of its glory. He is usually 
described in the inscriptions of his successors as “Avantinatha”, “Tribhuvana 
Ganda”, “Barbarakajisnu”, and “Siddha Cakravartin”. Acalgadh and 
Candravati to the north, Modhera and Jinjuvada to the west, Campaner and 
Dabhoi to the east, were the pillars of his throne. Anhilwad was in' his reign, 
the richest town in India, and marvellous stories are told of its markets 
and mints, its palaces and schools, and its gardens, where learned men 
sat under blossoming trees and discussed philosophy and religion. “The 
extent of his reign included not only Sorath and Malwa, but Kaccha and lands 
beyond, perhaps reaching to the Indus, the Deccan to the confines of the 
Kolhapur State and in the north to the Ganges and the Himalayas.” 

Siddharaja having no son to follow him, perpetuated his glory in 
magniflcent edifices and reservoirs all over Sorath and Gujarat which, 
though in ruins, excite, to this day, the wonder of the rustic and the 
admiration of the student of ancient history. This also was the reason why 
he caused to be written the annals of his race. 

Siddharaja leaving no son, the succession went to Kiunarapala, a 
great-grandson of Bhimadeva. The succession naturally was contested and 
royal outsiders intervened in the quarrel. Kumarapala, however, aided by 
his Jaina ministers, defeated Arnoraja of Ajmer and Ballala of Malwa. 
Like his predecessors, Kumarapala ruled justly and wisely for 30 years 
(1143-1173 A.D.). He had known adversity, which is the finest soil for the 


21. The last inscription of his Simha era is probably the Veraval inscription 
(Bhdvnagar Inscriptions, p. 214) which gives its date in four eras, evidently 
current in Gujarat, viz. Vikram 1320, Valabhi 945, Simha 151, and Hijri 642 
indicating four important rules in succession. 



flowers of understanding and compassion; for, as a possible successor, he 
had come under the displeasure of Siddharaja, and leaving Gujarat, had 
travelled in Southern and Eastern countries as advised by Hemacandra, 
who is said to have foretold his greatness. This accounts for his extreme 
reverence for that Jaina Pandit, and his regard for Jainism. His self- 
restraint and moral excellence may be attributed to the influence of Jaina 
philosophy. In the beginning, Kumarapala had some trouble with the 
courtiers who had served Jayasirhha, and his firmness in dealing with them 
led to the revolt of Vahad, one of the sons of the minister Udayana, who 
had been a special favourite with Siddharaja. Corrupting the officers of 
Kumarapala, this Vahad (or Vagbhatta) incited the Sapadalaksa (or 
Sakarhbhari) king Anaka to invade Gujarat. During the battle which 
followed, Kumarapala saw his captains deserting him; but, driving his 
elephant into the lines, he encountered and captured Vahad, killed Anaka 
(or Arnoraja) and thus turned imminent defeat into victory, 

Hemacandra used his great influence over the king with great 
adroitness. Kumarapala, like his predecessor, was a great builder, and 
many Jaina vihdras are attributed to him or his ministers. It is said that it 
was Hemacandra who advised him to re-build the temple of Somanath as an 
act of supreme merit, and the king built the temple in stone.® Hemacandra 
affected approval of Kumarapala’s undertaking to restore the temple, but 
suggested that the king’s merit would be greatly enhanced by abstinence, 
during the restoration, from meat-eating, wine and the company of women. 
Kumarapala agreed; and for two years observed the vow; then, the temple 
restored, he went there and worshipped the god, and even Hemacandra bowed 
to the idol. In spite of his reverence for his preceptor and the precepts of 
Jainism, however, there is nothing to show that Kumarapala ever turned 
Jaina, for the inscriptions of his time and of those of his successors always 
described him as ‘‘prospering through the favour of Siva” ® 

22. Bhoja of MMwa, Bhima and Jayasimha, it will be remembered are all credited 
with building the temple of Somanath. The inscription at Somanath dated 
1196 A. D. credits a Brahmin ascetic Bhava Brhaspati, a saint of Lakulisa sect, 
with having induced the kings of Gujarat to J)uild this temple; but the Jaina 
chroniclers credit Hemacandra with having- induced Kumarapala. We may 
give credit to both, since Kumarapala honoured both Hindu and Jaina saints 
and savants. 

23. The Jaina authors of Kumarapala Pratihodhaf Moliapardjaya and Prdkft 
Dwdsraya, however, havenodoubt that Kumarapala was a devout Jaina convert. 
There is certainly reason to believe that Kumarapala was so far impressed 
laterly with the doctrine of Ahirhsd specially preached by Jainism, that he, 
like Har^a, suppressed the slaughter of animals altogether, and even gave 


Kumarapala^s reign, except for just a little while in the beginning, 
when he had to oppose the Sakambharl prince, was a period of general peace 
and prosperity; and the wealthy Jainas built temples in all the principal 
towns as well as in their Tirthas. 

Kumarapala died without a male issue and his nephew Ajayadeva 
or Ajayapala came to the throne. He was violent in temper and cruelly 
oppressed not only the Jainas, but even his Hindu ministers. The Sah- 
karacarya, the high priest of the Saivites, had come to Gujarat before 
Kumarapala’s death, and, doubtless, stirred up the zeal of his sect against 
the Jainas, and Ajayadeva may have been influenced by this. Whatever it 
may be, he began his reign by a merciless persecution of some of the 
prominent Sravakas; their preceptor, Ramacandra Suri“ was tortured to 
death; the nobles Amrabhatta and Kapardin — favourites with his uncle — 
were destroyed. For twelve years, Puritan Jainism had banished vices from 
the kingdom of Kumarapala;*' but after Kumarapala’s death, its influence in 
the state declined. 

Ajayapala was succeeded by his small son Mularaja (1176-1178 A. D.) 
whose mother, Naikadevi (a daughter of a Parmardi Kadamba king in 
Karnataka, chaste, valorous, fearless of death, as Rajput women are known 
to be), acted as Regent during his minority, and defeated Mahmud Ghori» 
who invaded Gujarat just at that time, evidently leading the forces of 
Gujarat against the Gazni king.® This defeat saved Gujarat from the grip 
of the Muslims for a hundred years more, and established the reputation 
of the kingdom of Nahrwala for valour. 

strained water to his honscs and elephants. Inscriptions show that animal- 
slaughter was prohibited even by Kumarapala’s subordinate kings on certain 
days sacred to the Jainas (Vide, Bhdvnagar Inscriptions, page 206) and that a 
fine of five drammas was imposed for breach of this rule; these are generally 
known as (Amari Gho§aoa). 

24. A fragment of his Vdayana Vihdra Prasasti (Verses 71-105) has been discovered 
by me from Dholka: the last lines of Verse 105 being 

sRrfeRgwffJwt ii ” 

25. Mohapardiaya (Gaekwad Oriental Series, No. XI). 

26. The queen ‘ took in her lap the child king, maintaining a struggle at a hill’ 
Though to Bala (child) Mularaja belongs the credit of being ‘*the conquerer of 
theGurjan (Ghazni)” according to one inscription 

(Ind. Ant., VI, page 194), another inscription gives the credit to his mother— 

etc— Versvai 

Inscription in Bhdvnagar Inscriptions, page 24. 



Bhlmall, nicknamed “Bholo” but calling himself the ‘‘second” or 
“new (Abhinava) Siddharaja”, and assuming the grandiloquent title of 
“Cakravarti”, ruled for 63 years (1178-1241 A. D.). His nobles and feuda- 
tories acknowledged him as king of Anhilwad, but usurped his power none 
the less; for he was weak and profligate, entirely unfit to cope with his 
enemies — within and without. He, therefore, made Lavanaprasada, the 
grandson of Kumarapala’s maternal aunt, his Sarvesvara (Vice-Regent) in 
the hope of reclaiming the lost splendour of his kingdom. Lavanaprasada and 
his son Viradhavala, thus became the real rulers of Gujarat, who neverthe- 
less were faithful to the throne of Anhilwad. Lavanaprasada, evidently 
remained at the court, while Viradhavala ruled at Dholka, helping to uproot 
the principalities and sharing the burden of government with his father. 

Little is known about the reign of Bhima II, save what we can learn 
from Mahomedan historians and the annalists of the rival kingdom of the 
Cohanas of Sambhar. An honourable place is given to the gallant “Mad man 
of Anhilwad ” in the wild but picturesque epic of Barot Cand : for example, 
Prthvirdja Rdso says, “Bhima led an invincible army — a four-limbed army; 
many foot-lords served him; he possessed ships that sailed to Sindh; his 
military posts were in the land of Dhara.” He survived the fall of Prthviraja 
Cohana, and then crossed swords with his vanquisher, the Mahomedan. 

In 1197 A. D. Kutubuddin Aibak, who advanced against the Mers and 
Gujaratis combined, was compelled to return to Ajmer. It was Jayantasirhha 
a Paramara chief of Abu, a vassal of Anhilwad, who was instrumental in 
saving Gujarat then.®“ He seems to have established himself as the supreme 
lord in Anhilwad, for a year at least, during Bhima's absence. Evidently 
Bhima II at the time of the invasion by Kutubuddin, who had come to Ajmer 
advanced on Anhilwad and defeated the opposing forces at the frontier under 
the mountain of Abu. The Mahomedans, however, got temporary possession 
of the capital, some of the temples built by Siddharaja were destroyed; then 
the impending storm burst upon the heads of the Rajput princes of India. 
Gujarat and Malwa, Delhi, Sambhar and Kanauj, all weakened by intestine 
struggles, all divided by mutual jealousies and rancours, succumbed to the 

27. His power can be gauged from the various grants which he issued for the 
maintenance of the temples etc. 

28. He was “the extricator, like the Varaha, of the Gurjara land sunk in the waters 
of the ocean of evil times, and the nourisher, like rain, of the seed of Gurjara 
land burnt in^the forest-fire of calamities” (/nd. Ant, Vol. VI No. 4, p. 197, dated 



irresistable flood of Mahomedan conquest, which sweeping away the 
enfeebled obstacles in its path, engulfed the whole of Northern India, and 
uprooted all the Rajput kingdoms within a generation. 

The Muslim victory, however, did not then result in their permanent 
occupation of Gujarat. For Bhima returned when the coast was once more 
clear, and ruled again upto 1142. It was not until the close of the 13th cen- 
tury that Anhilwad finally succumbed to the Muslims, led by the furious 
Allaudin Khiljl, who is known to every peasant of Gujarat as ‘KhunP or 
* murderer 

Towards the middle of the 12th century the throne of Anhilwad passed 
to a collateral branch of Mularaja’s line, but the change brought it with no 
alteration in policy beyond an increase in the influence of the Jainas. Saurastra 
and Malwa were nominally provinces of Anhilwad, but records of wars exist 
against chiefs who continued to resist the Solankis. The Kohkan was in- 
vaded in about 1160 A.D., but without permanent results; while the Cohanas 
of Ajmer continued to threaten the northern frontier. The far graver danger 
of Mahomedan conquest was averted by the defeat of Mahomed bin Satu in 
1178, and Gujarat escaped serious molestation for more than a century. But 
the growing weakness of its hereditary feudatories enfeebled the kingdom of 
Solankis, and when the last scion of Mularaja’s line died in 1142, all power 
had already passed to the Vaghela chiefs of Dholka. Viradhavala Vaghela, 
a Mahamandalesvaray who was virtual master of Anhilwad, soon withdrew 
his allegiance and founded the Vaghela dynasty at Anhilwad, which ensured 
for four generations after him, viz., Visaladeva, Arjunadova, Saraiigdeva 
and Karnadeva or Laghukarnadeva, in whose time Gujarat was finally con- 
quered by the Mahomedans. 

The Vaghelas were a powerful race, though, to be sure, nothing as com- 
pared to the Solankis. Their two great Jaina ministers, Vastupala and 
Tejahpala, built the famous Jaina temples at Mt, Abu and Girnar. According 
to ^ Sukrta Sanklrtana \ the annals of the pious deeds of these Mantrisvaras, 
Vastupala was no rigid Sravaka, but was prepared to honour the gods of his 
sovereign, Viradhavala, and to build or restore Brahmin shrines when it was 
to his credit or advantage. Visaladeva (1244-1262 A. D.) had wars with 
Malwa, Mewad and Devagiri, and he fortified Visalnagar and Darbhavati. 
Under Sarangdeva (1274-1294 A. D.) the kingdom of Gujarat still included 
Sorath, Candravati, and Mount Abu, as his inscriptions show. But the king- 
dom had shrunk to a part of north Gujarat^ and east Saurastra, and the 
Vaghela wars were “little more than cattle-lifting raids’’. They were 
compelled to accept a treaty of alliance with the Yadava kings of the Deccan. 
Still commerce flourished and merchants built expensive temples, while the 
court bad no lack of poets and panegyrists. 



A single compaigr. in 1297 A. D., however, in the reign of Karnadeva 
and the armies at Delhi under Ulugh Khan, Allaudin’s brother, had subdued 
it.® This time the Musalmans occupied and held the country until, many 
years later, they were ejected by the Marathas. And, in the words of the 
author of Mirat-i-Ahmadi, with this event, “the sovereignty and power 
of the tribes already noticed came to an end, and were transferred to the 
supporters of our pure religion and illustrious law”. 

This brings us to the end of Hindu rule and the beginning of an alien 
rule in Gujarat, which remained an imperial province of Delhi until the end 
of the Mughal sovereignty, barring an interval of about a century and a 
half, when independent governors, under the Delhi kings, ruled as Sultans 

It can be seen from the foregoing that the attitude then existing 
between the rulers and the ruled in Gujarat made for personal loyalty 
rather than the national feeling; and Buddhism and Jainism only made 
matters worse in this respect.'" The people fell an easy pray to foreign 
invaders, as witness the comparatively effortless conquest of Gujarat by the 

(iii) Period of Mahomedan Rule (1297-1752 A.D.) 

The history of the Mahomedan kings of Gujarat may be divided into 
three periods. During the first, covering more than a century, Gujarat was 
a province of the Delhi empire which, under the Khiljis and the Tughlaqs, 
reached great heights of prosperity and then collapsed. During the second 
period, commencing with the 15th century, an able viceroy broke away from 
the Delhi court and set up an independent kingdom at Ahmedabad. Under 
successive rulers, this kingdom became the most important State outside the 
Mughal empire. During the third period, the second of the Mughal emperors 
nearly ruined it, and it was easily annexed by Akbar in the latter half of the 
16th century. Prosperity attended the rule of the Mughal viceroys until the 
unwieldy empire broke up in the latter part of Aurangzeb’s reign, at the 
commencement of the 18th century, and soon after the death of this monarch 
Maralha armies, including that of the Gaekwads"', commenced their 
invasions on Gujarat. 

29, He invaded Gujarat, occupied Aphilwad and Cambay, sacked the temple of 
Somanatb and laid waste the country. — Vide, Acarya Jinavijayaji’s paper on 
“Ulugh Khan and Alaf Khan”, Puratattva, 'Vol. IV (1926). 

30, Jainism, with its insiistence on non-violence, and Buddhism, with its clarion-call 
to renunciation, combined to create an atmosphere in which patriotism and the 
martial virtues withered and drooped — naturally. 

31, The family name is explained thus by Kincaid and Pfirasnis in the "History of 
the Marfithfi People” Nandfljl. the grandfather of Dftdftjl I, was a Marlthi 


For nearly a century (1297-1392 A. D.) governors were sent to 
Gujarat by the Sultans of Delhi, but their province included only the open 
country about Patan, Cambay, Baroda, Broach, and lower Tapi. Large 
tracts of country, however, continued for a time to be wholly independent; 
and though they were gradually reduced to paying tribute to the Sultans 
of Ahmedabad, they never were completely subjugated. The Imperial Gov- 
vemors appointed to administer the affair.s of Gujarat seized, as public 
property, the Hindu and Jaina temples, destroyed them, and, with their 
materials constructed mosques in all the principal towns. 

These governors were frequently changed, and none of them seems to 
have had the interests of the country and its people at heart. They were 
there to enrich their sovereigns at Delhi, and if possible, themselves. 
Alaf Khan, the first viceroy, was succeeded by ineffectual weaklings, 
with the result that for several years mutual distrust, disloyalty and 
rebellions against the emperor or his viceroy were the order of the day. 
During this period a few neighbouring Hindu princes regained part of their 
independence, while others, retreating before the Musalmans, took refuge 
and settled in Gujarat — for instance, the Rathods of Idar, the Gohils from 
the north who occupied Piram, the Paramaras, and the Kathls from Sindh; 
and the unsubdued hill-tribes, the Bhils and Kolis, were constantly in 
revolt. In 1347, some Amirs combined and defeated Aziz, the governor of 
Malwa, who had been sent by Mahomad Tughlaq to quell these disturbances, 
whereupon the emperor himself marched into Gujarat and sacked the towns 
of Surat and Cambay, and driving the Gohil chief Mokhadaji, out of Piram, 
captured Gogha. A second revolt occurred soon after, which the emperor 
quelled in a battle near Kadi, and he continued his conquests in and beyond 
Kathiawad. One of the governors, Shams-al-din DamghanI, offered to 
Sultan Firuz Shah III an advance of forty lakhs of Tankhds on the revenue 
of Gujarat, a hundred elephants, forty Arab horses and four hundred slaves 
every year if the province were handed over to him.” His offer was 
accepted ; but, not wishing to pay the stipulated amount, he turned rebel, 
and was killed by an army sent against him by the emperor aided by the 
chiefs and people whom his greed had alienated. 

As a rule, the Governors were no better than Shams-al-din. It was 

officer in charge of the fort in the Bhorc State. One day he saw a Mahomedan 
butcher driving a herd of cattle past the fort, and as a good Hindu, felt impel- 
led to rush out and rescue the cows, letting them in by a side-door of the fort. 
He then took the name of Gaekwad (Goi: cow; Kavdd: a small door). Hence 
“ ” — the title becomes a Rfijput king. 

82. Briggs, Fsrishtdh, Vol, I, p. 466. 



on the accession of Mahamad Shah III that the inhabitants of Khambayat 
(Cambay) complained against the tyranny of the Governor Farhat>ul-Mulk, 
who owing to the disturbances in the empire, and the power he had acquired 
by conciliating the Hindus, of whom his army was chiefly composed, ruled 
almost independently. In 1391, a very able man named Zafar Khan, himself 
a converted Rajput, was sent to displace him. Zafar Khan not only 
defeated Farhat-ul-Mulk, but exacted tribute from some of the principal 
Hindu Rajas — Junagadh, Delvada and Jhalawad — and despoiled the temple 
of Somanath. His attempts against Idar were, however, frustrated by 
circumstances, and the narrow tract in the plain over which he ruled 
was threatened not only by Idar on the east and the Bhils and the Kolls 
all along the mountain southward, but by the Rajas of Jhalor and Sirohl on 
the north-west and in the peninsula of Somanath — not to speak of other 
Hindu tribes. 

In 1403, Zafar Khan’s son Mahmud took the title of ‘Sultan’ and 
reigned as an independent sovereign over Gujarat. A few years after his 
death, Zafar Khan himself, known as Muzaffar Shah, ruled the country from 
Ahmedabad, then called Asawal, though he lived much at Patan, where in 
the end he was buried, as was his son. The Mahomedan Nazims, or Gover- 
nors, had their head-quarters at Anhilwa^, the old capital of the native 
sovereigns, and this was not changed till about 1411, when Ahmed Shah, who 
succeeded his grand-father Muzaffar Shah, founded a new capital on the site 
of the old city of Asaval and called it ‘Ahmedabad’® after defeating his 
rival relatives, the governors of Baroda and Surat. As Alaf Khan had 
spread his rebellion through Gujarat proper from Patan to Barova, so Ahmed 
Shah, conquering and levying tribute from tlie Rai of Junagadh and the 

33. During the 14th century the Hindus, whether Brahmanical or Jaina, found 
little mercy at the hands of their conquerors; and their rich shrines were 
desecrated, plundered and demolished at the will of their masters. Only a 
few ruined shrines and pitiful fragments remain to tell us of their former magni- 
ficence. Obviously, no new works of importance could be attempted during the 
rule of the Muslims; and consequently from the end of the 13th century to the 
close of the 16th century under the rule of the liberal Akbar, no Hindu or Jaina 
temple of any pretentions was erected in Gujarat. 

Also, see : “In spite of the constant military activities of his reign he was 
able to devote much of his time to the establishment of this city, which even 
to-day bears witness to the taste and munificence of its founder.” — Cambridge 
Hist, of India, Vol. XIII, p. 300. 

For the traditional founding of Ahmedabad, see “Lavani" (Descriptive Cata- 
logue of MSS. in Forbes (Jujardti Sabhd.Vol. I); also see, Navalram’s 
(Mirror of History): ‘ ^ atiqi W ’ffiFU ’. 


Sorath chiefs, extended it to Saura^tra. His hand was also heavy upon the 
Hindu kings of Campaner, Nandod, I^ar and Jhalawad. Again and 
again he harried the country round Campaner, and to settle Idar he built 
the fort of Ahmadnagar (now called Himatnagar) and exacted a heavy 
tribute from the Rai. Besides these he defeated their ally the Musalman 
king of Malwa, and repulsed Ahmad Shah, the Bahamani king of the 
Deccan at Mahim, in northern Kohkan, which belonged to him, and in 
Baglan, of which he held some portion (1430 A.D.)."* 

This rapid extension of his kingdom was due to two wise measures 
taken by him, one assigning lands in Jagir for the support of regular troops 
and the other conciliating the Hindu land-owners by granting them the 
*Watan\ or one-fourth share of their villages. 

The next notable Sultan of Gujarat was Mahmud Begda (1459-1513 
A.D,), who, in 1470, captured the impregnable forts of Girnar and Junagadh 
annexing Sorath, and afterwards destroyed the temple of Jagat (Dwarka), 
and who in 1484, took the fort of Campaner, and played the Sea-Captain 
when pirates on the coast below Surat interrupted trade,® and the 
Admiral in 1507, when he sailed in person with his fleet to Daman and 
Mahim. The Amir-ul-amra Malik Sultany also sailed from the Port of 
Div, and, joining the Turkish admiral, attacked and defeated the Portuguese 
fleet, near the harbour of Caul, a few miles to the south of Bombay. 

Mahmud, if not the greatest, was certainly the most popular of the kings 
of Ahmedabad.* He was, it is said, a great eater. Anecdotes about him abound; 
and there is hardly a fragment of Muslim architecture in Gujarat which 
popular feeling does not connect with him. In addition to the two Muslim 
cities of Mustafabad (Junagadh) and Mahmudabad (Caihpaner) he founded 
a new city of Mahmudabad on the banks of Vatrak in his own name, and he 
turned the land into a veritable orchard by planting fruit-trees in the) open 
country as well as in cities, towns and villages. It was, perhaps, his naval 
warfare which won for him a European reputation." 

After Mahmud his son Muzaflar II continued the ancestral contest 


34. See Cambridge History of India, Vol. II, Chap. XIII, p. 299. 

35. He got together a force consisting of archers, musketeers and gunners, and 
giving chase to the enemy continued a running fight for some hours, capturing 
several of the piratical vessels. 

36. He is to the Muslim as Siddharaj is to the Hihdu, a nucleus round which gathers 
romance and tale. His personal bravery and strength, his justice, his bene- 
ficence, his strict observance of Mahomedan ritual, and the excellence of his 
judgment, are alike extolled.— -Hdsawdld. 

37. Also, see Cambridge History of India, Vol. II, p. 315. 


eULTDllAL BISTOSy OF qojasat 

with Malwa, I<jlar and Chitod, but nothing particular happened until the 
accession of Bahadur Shah (1526-1536 A. D.), who squandered all his 
resources on new conquests, and alienated the sympathies of his people by 
introducing the system of revenue-farming. He did, indeed, extend the 
kingdom to the farthest limits it ever attained. The nine districts of Gujarat 
proper, which included Ahmedabad, Patan, Baroda, Broach, Rajpipla, 
Surat, and Campaner; Jodhpur, Jhalod, Nagor, and Sirohi in Rajputana; Duh- 
garpur and Bahswada in Malwa; a portion of Khandesh and Baglan; Jahjira, 
Bombay, Bassein and Daman in the Kohkan in the Western peninsula; 
Somanath, Sorath, Navanagar; and, finally, Kaccha — all these belonged to him. 
The rulers of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Berar, Golkonda and Burhanpur, were, 
at various times, his tributaries. 

Surely never had the kingdom of the Gujarat Sultan been more power- 
ful. Ahmedabad and its neighbours Mahmudabad and Campaner were at 
the zenith of their glory, and even more so were the harbours of Surat and 
Cambay, which under the Musalmans were thronged with shipping. After 
capturing Mandu, the capital of Malwa, and storming Chitod, Bahadur Shah 
courted ruin by challenging the hardy men of the north, the soldiers of the 
Mughal Humayun. Gujarat was overrun by the Imperial armies in 1535; in 
the following year Bahadur Shah recovered his kingdom only to enjoy it 
for one brief year. He died at Div in 1536 A. D. while fighting the Portu- 
guese, then masters of the seas which wash the coast of Gujarat.® 

His death exposed the hidden disease in the kingdom, the succeeding 
kings retaining only a nominal power, while the country was divided between 
the parties of a few great nobles who were constantly plotting one against the 
other. Finally, one of their number sought the aid of the great Emperor of 
Delhi, Akbar; the province was annexed by him in 1573. Some time, how- 
ever, elapsed before peace was finally established. 

In Gujarat, Akbar aimed less at innovation than at the retention of 
what was best worth preserving. The divisions of the country into portions 
directly administered by the Viceroy, who took the place of the Ahmedabad 
kings, and those merely tributary, were allowed to continue. The supporters 
of the emperor were rewarded by the grants of land. The first Mughal 
viceroy was Mirza Aziz Koka (1575 A. D.),’ who was put in charge of 
Ahmedabad, Petlad and several other districts. 

The tributes were fixed according to the terms made at the time of 
conquest, and bore no relation to the financial resources of the subject states. 
These were not regularly levied, but were usually extracted either by actual 

33. For details of the Naval fight, see Cam. Hist, of India, pages 312, 316. 


force under the system called ‘ MuUikgiri which was subsequently adopted 
and amplified by the Marathas. In the feudatory States the revenue consisted 
of a share in the crops, levied either directly on the cultivators by the agents, 
or collected through the superior landlords. There were also certain cesses 
on trade, in the Sarkar districts, in accordance with the practice of the 
Ahmedabad kings. 

Akbar placed an accountant at the disposal of each governor whose duty 
it was to check the management of internal affairs, and who corresponded 
with the head-accountant at Ahmedabad, an officer second only to the 
viceroy. Bahadur Shah had introduced the custom of farming the revenues 
through contractors (Ijardars) which was followed by the nobles in the 
management of their estates. Although this innovation greatly increased the 
revenue yet ultimately it caused the disorganisation of the kingdom. Akbar 
abolished this system, but it was revived under the early Maratha rulers. 

Under the Ahmedabad kings certain lands assigned in Jagir gradually 
became the personal property of powerfvil and unruly military lords. The 
military ambition of Bahadur Shah so enhanced the power and position of 
the military chiefs that they became virtually independent. Under the 
Mughal emperors, the Jagirdars were again subjected to the control of the 
government; but after Aurangzeb's death, and during the confusion caused 
by the Maratha invasions, they regained their independence, as in the case 
of the Babi family of Junagadh and the Nawabs of Surat, Baroda and Cambay. 

By the end of the 16th century, the Delhi empire included the whole 
of Sindh, Khandesh and Gujarat, with the exception of Div, Daman, Bassein 
and Bombay, which belonged to the Portuguese. Although in territory, the 
province of Gujarat under the Mughals was less than that, over which the 
more powerful of the Ahmedabad kings had ruled, yet its importance may 
be estimated by the high rank of many of its viceroys. The efficiency of the 
administration was, however, much weakened by the frequent transfer of 
officers, and by the practice which soon grew up of allowing the great nobles 
to remain at the court and administer their provinces by a Deputy. The land 
tax, which was fixed at the cash equivalent of one-third of the produce, was 
the chief head of revenue, and was assessed in accordance with a system 
devised by Raja Todar Mai. Akbar abolished many minor imposts and 
transit duties, and prohibited Sati and the enslavement of prisoners of 
war; but it is doubtful whether the control of the central power was at 
any time strong enough to enforce the emperor’s benevolent measures in 
distant provinces. 

The second of the viceroys appointed by Akbar was Mirza Khan, a son 
of the great minister Behram ELhan. During his brief tenure of office (1573 



A. D.), a portion of Central Gujarat received the blessing of a revenue settle- 
ment, made by Todar Mai, which lasted until the Marathas swept away every 
trace of Musalman rule. In about 1609 Baroda and Surat were invaded by 
Malik Amber, a noble of Nizam Shah’s court and governor of Daulatabad; 
and factories were established at Surat by rival traders of England and 
Holland — ^both events of great importance. 

Shah Jahan, who was viceroy from 1613 to 1622 liked the climate 
of Ahmedabad (unlike Jahangir) and he built there the beautiful palace of 
Shahi Bag, which he revisited as emperor in 1627. His viceroy Azam Khan, 
an able and energetic administrator, did much to keep the Kolis of Gujarat 
and the Ka^hls in order. His successor introduced the Bhagabatai’”, system 
of revenue into Gujarat. 

These competent officers were succeeded in 1644 by Aurangzeb, a 
religious fanatic, who, in two years, threw the whole country into confusion. 
In 1654 both prince Murad Baksh and Maharaja Jasvant Singh, a gallant 
rival of Aurangzeb, were viceroys here. During Aurangzeb’s reign, 
the years 1664, 1666 and 1670 were marked by repeated attacks on Surat 
by SivajI, signs of the coming change. 

The death of Aurangzeb (1707 A. D.) was followed by fifty years of 
disorder, and the Musalman empire fell to pieces. The Muslim Amirs lost 
all sense of cohesion. Self-interest became paramount, and they were ready 
at a pinch to join the Marathas, till the viceroy found himself compelled to 
solicit their alliance. The emperors down to Aurangzeb had placed Hindus 
and Musalmans impartially in positions of trust, and had not exacted the 
poll-tax on infidels (Jazid) from Hindus. In Gujarat, down to the death 
of Aurangzeb, the Mughal viceroys were on the whole successful in 
maintaining order and prosperity, in spite of the famines of 1596, 1631, 1681, 
1684 and 1697-98 and of the Maratha attacks on Surat. Almost throughout 
the Mughal period, the province yielded a revenue of nearly two crores of 
rupees, and a large foreign trade was carried on at the ports of Cambay, 
Broach and Surat. 


(iv) The Marathas : (1752-1818) 

The first Maratha force that made its appearance in Gujarat was 
that of Sivaji (early in 1664). The fort of Salher in Baglan, which 
guarded one of the best frequented passes from the Deccan into Gujarat, 
was taken by the Marathas in 1672. A Maratha force first crossing the 

39. Bhdgdbatdi i. e. Division of the produce of the land under a fixed share between 
the State and the tiller. 


Naxmada in 1675, under the command of Hambirrao, plundered the Broach 
district, and ten years later, in the company of Murad, again looted .Broach. 
Dabhade had made an incursion into the Surat district in 1699. The decline 
of the Mughal rule began with a Mara^ha raid across the Narmada in 
1705. From 1711 these invasions became annual, and the Marathas 
established themselves successively at Songadh (1719), Campaner (1723) 
and Baroda (1734). The beginning of the end came during the goveitiorship 
of Sarbuland Khan (1723-30 A. D.) who farmed out the revenues and admit- 
ted the Maratha claims to Chouth and Sardeshmukhl. 

Henceforth absolute anarchy reigned in the province, which was 
ravaged by the leaders of the Peshwas and Gaekwar’s armies, by the Rajas 
of Jodhpur, by the agents of Nizam-ul-Mulk, and by such local Musalman 
chiefs as the Babls, who established themselves at Junagadh (1738) and 
Balasinor (1761), the Jhaloris, who settled at Palanpur (1715) and 
Momin Khan, who set up the State of Cambay (1748) : and this, in spite of 
the fact that the Delhi court continued to appoint Viceroys till 1748. Famines 
in 1719, 1732 and 1747 added to the misery of the people. 

In 1737, the Gaekwar was admitted to a half share in the revenues of 
the province, and occupied Ahmedabad jointly with the viceroy’s troops 
(1738). Broach, from 1731 to 1752, held by a deputy of the Nizam, had 
to yield a share of the customs to the Gaekwar. Surat suffered chiefly from 
the violence of rival candidates for the governorship. The Maratha domi- 
nance prevailed intermittently to the end of the 18th century in Western 
India, and during the first fifty years after Nadir Shah’s invasion (1739), 
which completed the Mughal debacle, they had only local rivals to settle. 
Gujarat was parcelled out among a number of local chiefs who ceaselessly 
carried on petty warfare which the Marathas had no desire to suppress, so 
long as they could secure their share of the plunder of the province. The 
Peshwa’s share in 1751 only added another plunderer to the lot. 

After the battle of Panipat the local Musalmans tried, but failed, to 
drive out the Gaekwar (1761) ; but the last chance of a strong native govern- 
ment growing up wls ruined by the disputed succession at Baroda in 1768 
A. D. The internal troubles in Surat lasted until the British occupied the 
castle in 1759, and so obtained claims over Broach, which had been independ- 
ent since 1752 A. D., but was taken by a British force in 1772 A. D. The 
first collision between the Marathas and the British took place in 1774, when 
civil war broke out between Raghoba and the ministry, and the British agreed 
to aid Raghoba in return for Salsette, Bassein and certain districts in Guja- 
rat. But the treaty of Purandhar (1776 A. D.) left only Salsette and Broach 
in hands of the British, of which the latter was handed to Scindia by the 



treaty of Salbai (1782 A. D.). The Gaekwar was protected against the 
Peshwa, and for twenty years (1782-1803 A. D.) the British and the Mara- 
tha Govenunents remained at peace. 

The Maratha confederacy began to break up, and the Gaekwar was 
drawn away from it by his acceptance of British protection (1782 A. D.). In 
Gujarat there was little improvement in the Government during this period, 
though inspite of dispute in the Gaekwar’s family and the intrigues at the 
Poona court, a semblance of order was preserved by British influence from 
1782 to 1799 A. D., when the Gaekwar took Ahmedabad and imprisoned the 
Peshwa’s Agent. In 1799 A. D., the Peshwa farmed his rights to the Gaek- 
war, who entered into subsidiary alliance with the British, the Peshwa and 
the Gaekwar, which ended in the cession to the first named, of certain 
districts and rights in Gujarat. The British had annexed Surat in 1800 A. D. 
on the death of the Nawab, whose family was pensioned off, and had wrested 
Broach from Scindia in the war of 1803. 

The British, who acquired the Peshwa’s rights in Gujarat partly by 
treaty and partly by conquest over Baji Rao, the last Peshwa (1818 A. D.), 
became the supreme holders of the province of Gujarat. The districts were 
re-organised, the change from native rule being rather in men than in meas- 
ures. The first steps towards the settlement of Saurastra and Mahikantha 
were taken between 1807 and 1818 A. D., the lease of the Panca Mahals from 
Scindia being as late as 1853 A. D. With the advent of the new alien, but 
supreme power, the grosser abuses of Mulakgirl expeditions were stopped, 
and the peasantry were contented and orderly, though the Deccan! Brahmins, 
Kathlawad Rajputs, Vaghers, Kolis and soldiery regretted their former 
freedom to win both laurels and plunder. 

III. Republics 

The Hindu race has always loved political experiments. According to 
Aitareya Brahmana the greater portion of Aryan India, North, West, and 
South, enjoyed republican constitutions. Further East, in the Prac!, with 
its centre in or about Magadha, there was the cunstituti6n called Samrajya, 
which literally means a combination of monarchies, i. e., a federal im- 
perialism around one dominant member. North and West and South-west 
were still republican in the time of Alexander. Republics lasted for about 
1000 years. In Gujarat there was the republic of the Vr^nis and Ahdhakas, 
with their ineradicable influence on the national life and literatiue of Aryan 
India in the early years — ‘for political wisdom and valiant independence’.* 

40. K. P. Jayaswal, Hindu Polity, Part I, p. 138. 


We Start here with a short accoimt of the republics in the peninsula 
of Saura$tra since the days of the Yadava colony. The earliest republicans 
known were those of the sovereign Bhoja leaders. Their constitution itself 
was called “Bhaujya”, and the Bhojas, so named after their rulers, appear 
in later literature as a subdivision of the Yadavas, whose earlier history 
shows them to have belonged to two combined republics called the Andhaka- 
Vfsnls. According to Aitereya Brahmaiika, Satvatas were those who observed 
the Bhaujya constitution. The name Bhoja, or Bhaujya, still survives in 
modem ‘ Bhuja ’. The Rastrikas and Bhojakas, who fought against Kharvela 
in the time of Patahjali, and who are mentioned by Asoka as being in 
Aparanta, i. e., Western India, were self-governing states within the imperial 
territorial limits. 

The Vrsnl-Ahdhaka league had a joint federal constitution, where 
executive power was vested in two ‘Rajanyas’, i. e., leaders of families 
dedicated to rulership, with their respective ‘ Vargas ’ , (party) representing 
each division. Changing dual groups — ^Vasudeva and Ugrasena, Akrura and 
Vasudeva, Sini and Vasudeva — suggests that the Ahdhaka Rajanya and the 
Vrsni Rajanya were elected rulers. Akrura was an Ahdhaka leader, and 
at one time was one of the two presidents of the Federal Council. That the 
Vfsnis had no Rajanyas in their constitution, is shown in folklore and legend 
which m^y mean that they had lost the fight of kingship through a curse, and 
is further proved by their coins, which were struck in the name of the Rajanya 
and Gana, ‘the Protector of the country of Vrsnis’ 
and which bear the Brahml script of the first century B. C. The Vfsnis fell 
before the Saka barbarian, leaving behind a couple of coins to tell the tale 
stamped with the traditional State-symbol of Cakra (discus) of the time of 
Rajanya Krsna. The Santi Parva (ch. 81) records a discussion on the affairs 
of the Andhaka-Vrsni league which shows that there were two political parties 
in the joint Saihgha or Federal Parliament, each of which tried to gain the 
upper hand in political matters. Krsna was attacked, and he returned the 
attack. Babhru, Ugrasena and Krsna were then the elected Presidents. 
Ahuka on the side of the Vrsnis, and Akrura on the side of the Ahdhakas, seem 
to have led the federal Diet. These two republican leaders had contracted a 
political marriage between their families, thereby cementing their relation- 
ship to their mutual interest. The republic of the Saurastras (lit. “Good 
Realm”, as known from ArthaSastra) was extant in Saurastra (325-300 B.C.) ; 
and the name “Saurastra” seems to have spvived the Mauryan imperialism." 

41. It figures in the inscriptions of Bala Sri (about 58 B. C.) and in the Junagadh 
inscription of Rudradaman (2nd century A. D.) as can be seen in Kautilya’s 
phrase, XI, i, p. 160, ‘ I ’ 



Each State was a nation-in-arms, insisting on military skill in its citizens. 
In short, each had a citizen army. Where the king-consul constitution obtained, 
there were probably regular or hired (standing) armies. But the Nation-in- 
arms class did not become purely military, for their constitution also made 
provisions for industry and agriculture. They were, therefore, rich as well 
as strong." They were also artistic, lovers of music and dancing." 

The Mauryan policy was to allow honourable existence to strong and 
combined republics, for “they were dijB&cult to be conquered”. Those that 
were isolated were weakened by a policy of internal division and then reduc- 
ed by force. This weakened the country and paved the way for the foreign 
barbarians of the first century B. C. in Western India, who easily and unoppos- 
ed took possession of the land from Sindh upto the Maratha country. The 
Bhiksus had also formed into ‘ Sanghas \ The clay sealing unearthed from 
Ihtva on Girnar, Junagadh, records in Brahmi script that it belonged to the 
congregation of mendicants at the monastery built by Maharaja Rudrasena 
(C. 196-222 A. D.) fa pw . At the end of the 5th century 

A. D., republics disappeared from Hindu India. From 550 A. D. onwards 
Hindu history became a series of brilliant biographies — isolated gems without 
a common string of national and communal life. We get men great in virtue 
and power, but the community ceases to breathe the air of freedom. 

42. The country named ‘Saura§tra ’ probably owed origin to a Ra§trika constitution, 
a non-monarchical community, with a paraphernalia of sovereignty. In the 
Arthas&stra the Suraigit^s^s are a republic where no king-consul was allowed. 
The territorial appellations Hastrika and Saurast^^a seem to have been derived 
from the republican constitution. — Hindu Polity^ Jjiyaswal. 

43. Says Dr. K, P. Jay aswal, “The philosophy of the Vr§pi leader and that of his 
cousin Nemi are national beliefs to the present day. Free constitutions seem 
to have given rise to free philosophies. Philosophy, politics and military 
training did not combine to develop a non-human type of humanity. The 
republics were noted for their love of music. Arrian calls these Indians whom 
Alexander met, “lovers of dance and song“. The musical propensities of 
Vr§pis were a familiar feature in Sanskj-t literature. The^Harivomsa describes 
their dance and music. 

The testimony of Sarhgadeva {Sanglta Ratndkara, Nartanddhydya, Verses 
7,8: 1200 A. D.), may be added here to point out that even ladies had their 
special music, occasionally in a mixed concert. The Idsya dance (the original 
of the modern Rdsa and Garaho) was specially known to UiSa, wife of Aniruddha, 
through Parvati, from whom the ladies of Dwaraka and then of Saura$tra, and 
thence the women of other countries, learned the Idsya music. This special 
feature of Gujarat social life in its aesthetic form, remains unique among the 
provinces of India, even today. 


IV. The Ideal of Kingship* 

In ancient times, the term “Imperial power” implied overlords^ip 
rather than actual rule. Wars amongst the medieval Rajaput kings, for in- 
stance, were fought more for the establishment of prestige than for extension 
of territory. Each Rajaput king yearned for the title of “Cakravartin” or 
emperor, and fought mightily therefore, but made no attempt to annex the 
kingdom he defeated. Thus the power of both the conquerer and the 
conquered was considerably lessened, no gain whatever accruing to the 
Victor.® The SolahkI kings, especially, seem to have been singularly free 
from greed of power, some of them actually transferring their authority to 
others when occasion arose for their own withdrawal from the throne during 
their lifetime, mostly for purposes of pilgrimage or self-purification.® 

The Mahomedan Sultans of Gujarat craved supremacy rather than 
territory;® but with the advent of their successors, the Mughals, the policy 
changed, extension of territory, rather than suzerainty being now the goal. 

Akbar parcelled his empire into great provinces or Suhahs, which 
included Native states or protectorates, and recovered most of the former 
dominions of Delhi. By his firm, just and uniform administration, he once 
more brought law and order into the country. But the Mughal policy, as a 
whole, was destructive as far as the Native States were concerned, sparing 
not even the Muslim principalities in the South. 

The Marathas were bom soldiers, and conquered great tracts of 
country. Their method of administration differed from all others. They 
either sold the right of collecting revenues to creditors, i. e.. State Bankers, 
or auctioned it publicly. The purchasers, called Ijardars, had great power 
and little responsibility towards the ruling power. Their tenure of the 

44. Hindu kingship before the complete autocracy of the medieval Hindu period 

and later Mahomedan period was “elective : a contractual engagement; 

and office of state, which had to work in co-operation with the other officers of 
the state : a trusts.; expressly not arbitrary; — primarily national, secondarily 

45. As for example, sec Bhoja of Malava, called ‘Malava Cakravarti’, Karpa of 
Cedi, and Kumarapala Solahki. ‘Prthvirdja Rdso ’ related that ninety out of 
hundred of Prthviraja’s Samantas fell in his conflict with Jayacandra while 
carrying off Sariiyogita. Siddharaja also was called ‘ Siddha Cakravarti ’. 

46. Mularaja, hisson C&mupds, Durlabharaja, Bhimadeva and several others are 
instances in point. 

47. Mahmud Begda, having conquered Sorath, appointed a son of Ra Mipdalik as 
Jagirdar; and Malwa, Khandesh etc. (though they were annexed by the SultSns 
of Gujarat) were not personally administered by them. 



farms was too short to make it worth their while to take any trouble over 
the administration thereof. The Marathas copied the Mughals in their 
methods of levying tribute, borrowing from them the very names of their 
levies — ‘ghdsa ddnd’ for instance, being merely a translation of the Moghul 
‘kah danah’ and ‘KhdndanV the Marathi synonym for ‘peshkuah*. The 
Marathi-speaking people who conquered a great portion of India after 
g aining their own independence, were composed of Kunbis and Brahmins. 
The former were warriors, the latter administrators. True, Sivaji was 
an administrator, and several of the Peshwas great generals, but as a rule, 
the ordinary Maratha, though a good fighter, had few of the qualities 
of a good ruler.* 

The institution of feudalism was born of the military requirements 
of a State. It implied a lordly control of the masses by lords or sarddrs, 
liv ing in strongholds and holding all the land about them, and a domination 
of common life in all its aspects by a military organization. Every State 
needs a strong and efficient army. The Hindu states in Mediaeval Hindu 
period, however, had probably stopped maintaining standing armies, as in the 
days of Harsa or Bhoja. The army consisted chiefly of the quotas supplied 
by the Sdmantaa or feudal lords, whose status somewhat resembled that 
of the English Barons. They maintained for the use of the state a certain 
number of fighters whose expenses were borne by their fiefs. 

On the fall of the Hindu kingdom of Anhilwad some of its feudatory 
chiefs and nobles retired to their estates or retreated into the surrounding 
hilly countries, founded small principalities there, and defied the Mahomedan 
power from their mountain-fortresses. The Zamindars in the time of Sultan 
Ahmad Gujarati (1484 A.D.) rebelled, but were punished and driven from 
their retreats, whereupon they turned into highwaymen. The result was 
anarchy, confusion, and general distress in the land. Sultan Ahmad, 
thereupon began to exact a certain security from the Zamindars of every 
village. Three parts of the land of each village, under the denomination 
of *Talpad', were acknowledged as the property of the kjng, and one-fourth 
was given to the Zamindars under the denomination of *Vdn$d’, on an 
understanding that they were to furnish guards and protection to their own 
villages, and were to hold themselves in readiness for the service of the king 

48. For detailed description of Maratha administration in Gujarat, see Barodd 
Gazetteer, p. 432 ; — 

“In the forcible language of Burke, it was “an exchequer wherein extortion 
was the assessor, fraud the cashier, confusion the accountant, concealment 
the reporter, and oblivion the remembrancer.” 


whenever called upon. For this ^Vdhtff or the share of the chief (some** 
times called *gr&sa^ or mouthful), a ^salami* or quit-rent had to be paid to 
the crown. When the Musalman power began to decline, another kind of 
‘grasa’ came to be aclmowledged which owed its origin to a system of 
black-mail, levied by predatory chiefs on villages exposed to their incursions. 
This was called the 'Todd-gards”; and Elphinstone defines it as "the sum 
paid to the powerful neighbour or turbulent inhabitant of the village as the 
price of forbearance, protection or assistance”. 

Even the Marathas, who gradually conquered the country, could not 
prevent the more turbulent of the small land-owners from levying this 
black-mail on their more peaceful and defenceless neighbours. The 
Mehvasls", who lived in the hilly country on the eastern boundary of 
Gujarat, mostly near the Mahl and the Narmada rivers, were also a wild and 
predatory class levying black-mail on peaceful towns. 

In short, there was little safety of person or property during the pre- 
British period in Gujarat, there being no powerful central authority to keep 
the different chiefs in control, and life in Gujarat suffered greatly in all 
its aspects. 

V. Revenue and Taxation 

The political unrest above referred to precluded a systematic levy of 
taxes and revenue. The Hindu theory of taxation is of immense importance 

49. The peaceful country was termed ^Rasti’ by the Marathas; and the inaccessible 
hill-country was called 'Mevasi', 'Mevasa’ signifying a stronghold or 

K. H. Dhruva suggests (vide ‘Notes on Solankl Vamsa*, Buddhiprakds, 
November 1927) that the Mevasis are the descendents of Mers» or Kolis, original 
residents on the banks of Indus, to the south of Afghanistan or Asmaka Desa, 
‘Mer’ being derived from the Sanskrt ^^1^, Prak^t the sea; and 

Koli from ^ or l^nk, also called Kanthi, from the word meaning ‘bank *. 
The actual derivation of the word “Mevasi" is, however, still uncertain. 

See also '^Mitradharmdkhydna** by Vallabha, a concocted son of Premanand 
(S. 1761); and Navalram, for dwellers on the banks of the river Mahi 

»it, p, a’sir’fr ^ i jFwtr” 

“ I ^ '3^^ II 

I ^ ^ ^ ii 

wfiKl’sft ■%: I sw: sniPratsft %: ii 

I ^ sRPrfkr ii 



£rom the constitutional point of view. Taxes had been fixed by Law 
and the scales embodied in the sacred common law, so that, whatever the 
form of government, the matter of taxation was safe from tiie caprice of the 
ruler, and the possibility of oppression or of friction between the ruler and 
the ruled was thus reduced to a minimum. 

Though taxes were fixed by common law, the king often found it 
necessary to apply for additional extraordinary taxation to the Paura and 
Jdnapada-^the Town and the Country Councils. Rudradaman, as we find 
from his inscription, suggested to his council of ministers the restoration of 
the great Sudarsana lake; the suggestion was rejected; and he did the repairs 
from "his own private purse”, not troubling the 'Paura Janapada Gapa’, or 
body politic, with a demand for money for the purpose. 

Following the Hindu theory of taxation, the officers of the assembly 
had to make out a bill for all the losses sustained by the people through 
thefts, dacoities, or any sort of lawlessness, and the king had to pay. Taxes 
were paid to the king as wages for his services of protection and admini* 
stration. “The l/6th Bali tax, import and export duties, fines and forfeitures 
collected from offenders — gathered in accordance with the Sastras (law and 
constitution) as your wages shall constitute your revenue.”” 

Thus the Master-Servant of the people had his wages and maintenance 
fixed by divine authority, and he had to be content therewith. The mainstay 
of his revenue was his fixed hhSga, or share, of the produce from agriculture. 
His share in merchandise sold in the market was 1/lOth or so. There were, 
however, some sources of revenue which are now called excise and customs 

The title of the king to his share of the land-revenue leads us to the 
important Hindu theory on the proprietorship of land, which is connected 
with taxation." The earth is not the king’s alone. It belongs, says Jaimin! 
in the ‘Mimamsd Sutras', to all alike. Therefore, although a piece of land 
could be gifted to an individual, the whole land could not be given away by 
a king, nor a whole province by a subordinate prinde. House and field 
acquired by purchase and similar means, howeyer, were liable to gift. The 
monarch had no claims on the land. His conquests brought him kingly 
power alone, except for the property in houses and fields belonging to the 
enemy (as private property). Apart from this, he could claim nothing 

50. Maha Bharata, Santi Parva, LXXI. 10. 

51. For a further explanation of this controversy, vide K. P. Jayaswal’s Hindu 
Polity, Part II, pp. 174-183. 


more than his right to receive taxes from husbandmen and levy fine on 

Says Nilaka^tha, a Hindu Lawyer of the 17th century, in his ^Vyava- 
Kara Mayiikha’ (Doyo Nirrioya),“ “On conquest, the ownership of the con- 
queror arises only in respect of the houses, lands and personality, etc., of the 
ruler conquered. Where the latter had a right to taking taxes, the conqueror 
acquires that much right, and no ownership. Proprietory right in the whole 
land with regard to villages, and land, etc., lies in their respective land-lords. 
The king’s right is limited to the collection of tax therefrom. Therefore, 
what is technically meant as ‘giving away of land’, by the king does not 
mean giving away of land but a mere creation of allowance. If house, 
land, etc., are bought from the owner by the king, proprietorship can 

The earliest form of land-lord’s rent, or Rajabhdga, was a fixed share 
of the produce of the soil. The Maitraka grants refer to two separate 
systems of land assessments — ^in Kaira by yield, the unit being basketful, 
and in Saurastra by area measured by hand-paces. Gradually land-holders 
began to levy cash assessments or ‘vero\ in addition to the share of the 
crop. These rates, probably, were the consequencei^ of the tribute exacted 
first by the Musalmans, and next by the Marathas. In the course of time, 
the levy of ‘veto' became a symbol of independence, and was frequently 
quoted in proof of independence. 

The complications arising from the grain-share, or Bhdgahatdi system, 
induced the Government later on, to adopt a system known as the 
“Cokhkha Bhaga” or “cash share’’. A notice was issued in the time of the 
Emperor Aurangzeb by Shahvardi Khan, governor of Sorath, to the effect 
that merchants should not be compelled to purchase the produce of the 
Jagirdars in whole lots. The two Mangrol inscriptions (1685-86 A. D.) state 
that “the custodian of Sorath came to know that his predecessors in office 
used to sell all sorts of grain of their Jagir by force, i.e., by giving it to the 
merchants by a lump sum (udhad); he approved of the losses the latter were 
put to. They also levied prohibited imposts from the ryots. Hence he had 
resolved that he shall not collect any of the forbidden imposts from the 
merchants”. (Bhdvnagar Inscriptions, p. il). The same spirit of toleration 
is found in a stone-inscription at Mangrol (1402-03 A. D.), the Kotwdls of 
which place were prohibited by the governor of Sorath from levying tax on 
marriages of the Hindus and Ahirs, for the sake of prosperity of the town, 

52. Gujarat is governed by this Law-text. 

53. g WlfWSRi;, sf l” 



contentment of the minds of the people and, in order that there may be 
spiritual and temporal freedom.*' 

The Persian word for revenue was Peshkash, i. e., “first-drawn”, the 
first fruits. The Muslims, on the conquest of a new country, generally 
allowed the minor chiefs (if they came to terms unresistingly) to retain 
their estates on the annual payment of Peshkash, and Jam d or Jamahandhi, 
which meant 'land revenue’ pure and simple. This was settled for the village 
as a whole, generally with the headman of the village. The Zamindars 
observed a strict neutrality in times of war, paying their revenue or Jama, 
to the ofiicer in charge of their district. Neither the Mughals nor the 
Mara^has interfered in their internal affairs, except that, as time passed, a 
larger and larger tribute was exacted from them by the latter. The Muslim 
rulers used military force to exact a yearly Peshkash from those Zamindars 
who had not been completely subjugated; and the army, that was yearly equip- 
ped and sent round for the extortion of this tribute, was called ‘Mulukgin'. 

The Marathas retained this mode of collecting revenue. To meet the 
expenses of the ‘Mulukgiri’ army, they imposed a new tax on the Zamindars 
called “ Ghasdana ” which was not withdrawn till the commencement of the 
nineteenth century, when the British came to Gujarat. The Marathas first 
established their right to exact Chouth in Gujarat, and then turned to ad- 
ministration; and they exacted Chouth even from those territories which 
were not under their jurisdiction." 

VI. Coinage 

Among primitive peoples trade was carried on by barter until certain 
other media were introduced to facilitate exchange. Wealth in those early 
times being computed in cattle, oxen or kine were most naturally employed 
for the purpose. The cow was placed at the higher end of the scale of 
barter; shells, beads, cowries or even bars of copper or iron stood at the 
lower. From varying amounts of metal, weighed and delivered, it was but a 
step to pieces of metal of recognised weight and fineness, with the stamp 
of authority upon them. Their convenience was appreciated alike by 
merchant and ruler; and in India they have* been in universal use for 
nearly 2600 years. The first coins seem to have come into India from 
Persia, with which she carried on a maritime trade in about 700 B.C." 

54. Bhdvnagar Inscriptions, p.l9. 

55. See, Sen : Administrative System of the Marathas, p. 98. 

56. Kautilya. 


The earliest kind of currency seems to have been punch-marked 
coinage, which was struck by royal goldsmiths and silver-smiths and by 
communal guilds (Srenis) . The originals of these coins may have come 
from Babylon, after the opening of maritime trade between that country 
and the west coast of India,” or they may have been purely indigenous, but 
manifesting foreign influences in fabrics and designs. For eight centuries 
these foreign types of coins were reproduced in India; they changed 
more and more in character as they became less and less intelligible to 
successive strikers; and they disappeared altogether in the general 
cataclysm that followed the terrible Huna invasion in the 6th century. 
Greek coins, which were imitated largely by the kings of the Indo-Bactrian, 
Indo-Scythian, Indo-Parthian, and Kusana dynasties of North-Western 
India, have done much to throw light upon that period of Indian history 
which stretches from the invasion of Alexander to the rise of the Kusana 
power in India. 

The introduction, by the Indo-Greek kings, of the portrayed head 
of the Greek types into the Indian coinage, marked the first intermingling 
of Eastern and Western culture in India. The Ksatrapa coins of Gujarat 
follow the Greek model, but are inferior in execution to those of the 
Bactrians. The monarch wears the Macedonian helmet; the reverse has a 
fire-altar or Caitya, the Sun, and the Moon; and the legend usually bears the 
names of the kings and his father, and, in the case of earlier kings, the title 
of 'Mahaksatrapa’. 

The silver coinage of the Guptas comes into being with the overthrow 
of the Western Ksatrapas by Candragupta II. It is a close imitation of the 
Ksatrapa coinage, except that the obverse bears a figure of Visnu’s sacred 
bird Garuda, in place of the Caitya and the dates are of the Gupta instead 
of the Saka era. They are obviously intended for circulation in the recently 
annexed provinces. Kumaragupta while striking larger coins with the 
Garuda stamp, also put the peacock — the bird sacred to Kumara, the 
War-God and his naijie-sake — on his coinage, as can be seen from a large 
number of coins which have been found in the peninsula and also in Central 
Gujarat. These must have been brought by him when he invaded the 
country. Skandagupta added two other types, one of base silver, with Siva’s 
sacred bull Nandi, and the other with an altar, on the reverse, while the 
obverse bore the dates and the head of the sovereign. These coins were 
current in Saura^tra. 

57. Coins of India, Prof. Brown, p. 16. 



The powerful Maitraka rulers of Valabhi, who asserted their indepen- 
dence at the end of 500 A. D. issued coins that bore the goddess Parvati, a 
peacock and a Trisiila or trident. 

Shortly after the Huna occupation of India, the Sassanians conquered 
part of Western India, as can be seen from coins with bi-lingual inscriptions in 
Pahlavi and Nagari, which are obvious imitations of Sassanian coinage in 
base silver, thin and flat in the beginning like their originals, but thickening 
and coarsening as the head on the obverse and the flre-altar on the reverse, 
lost their pristine fineness with the passing of years. The curious coins 
known as ‘Gadhtyd* which were circulated till a much later date both in 
Gujarat and in Rajaputana also show traces of Sassanian origin. 

Silver coins with the legend “Srimad Adi-Varaha” on the reverse, and 
Visnu in his Varaha Avatara on the obverse, bear traces of a fire-altar below 
the inscription, and have been attributed to Bhojadeva, the powerful 
Gurjara-Pratihara king of Kanauj, whose family had formerly ruled in both 
Rajaputana and Saurastra.''^ The last vestiges of the Greek alphabet had 
disappeared from Indian coins by 400 A. D., but they retained the weight 
and fineness of the Attic “drachma*’ (called ‘ Drammas’ in inscripion) 
in certain localities, till at least 1100 A.D. 

The centuries that elapsed between the Huna invasion and the coming 
of the Musalmans in the 12th century, though pregnant with great possibi- 
lities for the future, were yet singularly lacking in original art, as can be seen 
from the coinage of the petty kingdoms. The stamp of the Bull and the 
Horseman on Rajaput coinage symbolises the most important feature of 
that period — the rise of the Rajaput clans to dominant power in ‘northern 
India. We have, unfortunately, very few specimens of the coins used in 
Gujarat during the reign of the Anhilwad kings. Siddharaja Jayasiihha’s 
silver coins — seven from Pilvai (North Gujarat) and five from Vanthali (near 
Junagadh) are recently discovered. The legend reads ‘ ’ and it has 

an elephant on one side of the small silver coins. 

Sulaiman, a merchant who visited Gujarat in 851 A. D., observes : 
“shells are current in this, and serve for small money, notwithstanding that 
they have gold and silver.” (Rasa Mala 1, p. 45). Contemporary literature 
gives occasional allusions to mints (jiRgST*') from which we gather that 

58. The inscription of Dharapi Varaha, 917 A. D. 

53. Siddharsi, describing Bhilmalanagar in his UpamiHbhava Prapanca Kathd in 
Saihvat 962, alludes to wealth as having settled in the mints, religion in god- 
houses, and pleasures found in citizens— Vide Peterson’s Report, Vol. Ill, 
Cambay MSS, p. 148 


there were mints in Bhimnal, the Gurjara capital, long before Mularija 
came to the throne of Anhilwa^, and that Prthvipala, minister to Siddharaja 
and Kumarapala was not only completely in charge of the mint, but even 
had his name on the coinage" The same is said of Lahara Dandanayaka in 
Vimalajtrahandha, There are occasional references to the chief money-markets 
of Gujarat in the time of the Vaghelas. In Dholka and Cambay, mentioned 
in the Gimar inscriptions of 1222 and 1232 A. D., extensive financial trans- 
actions were carried on by Tejalj.pal, the Mantri of Viradhavala." The 
political unrest in Gujarat accounts for the sparseness of coinage during the 
Hindu period, as also the previous impoverishment of the country at the 
hands of the Hunas, the Arabs and the armies of Ghazni. Moreover, 
mercantile contracts in India have always been carried on largely by ‘Notes 
of Hand ’ (Hunzts) and in times of disturbance these could be more safely 
conveyed from city to city than coined money. Import of silver, also, was 
stopped because the rise of the Arab power, and the coasequent disturbances 
in Central Asia, interrupted trade between India and the West both by land 
and sea. 

The Pathans at Delhi kept to the ‘Bull and Horseman type’ of coinage 
for a time, and inscribed their names and titles in the Nagari script, but the 
engraving of images being forbidden by Islam, pictorial devices more or less 
appeared on Indian coins." Both obverse and reverse henceforth bore 
the inscription giving the king’s name and titles, and the date according 
to the Hijrl era, and, also for the first time in the history of Indian coinage, 
the name of the mint where the coins were struck. The inscribing of the 
sovereign’s name on the coinage had a special importance for Muslims; for 
this, along with the reading of his name in the Khutba or public prayer, 
implied a definite assumption of regal power on his part. Another new feature 
of these coins was the inclusion in the inscription of the Kalima or the for- 
mula embodying the Muslim profession of Faith: “There is no God but AUah, 
and Mahammad is the Prophet of Allah.” This practice sprang from the 

60. Vide Prthvipala Praiaati, in a poem by Haribhadra Suri in S. 1223, Palm leaf MSS. 

cTf ^ Sr I 

gsMl 81 ^ ii 

I am obliged to Papdit Lalcandra Gandhi of Oriental Institute, Baroda, for 
these two references. (For original quotation see p. 316 of the original). 



61. The word is preserved in the proverb ‘ ^ wi ? ’, ‘ yspl § «T ’. 

62. The coin referred to by Bhoja Bhakta cannot be traced. There were some 
notable exceptions. 



proselytizing zeal of the early Khalifs of Syria. The coinage underwent a 
complete transformation in the time of Sher Shah, who adjusted pure copper 
coins to his new standard silver coin, the rupee, which he had firmly esta- 
blished as currency. Allaudin Khilji further changed the design by dropping 
the name of the Khalif from the obverse, and substituted the self-laudatory 
title “The second Alexander, the right hand of the Khalifat” on his silver 
coinage. Mahammad Tughlaq, famous for the coins he issued in India, struck 
gold dinars of 201.6 grains. 

The coinage of the Sultans of Gujarat, at first chiefly of silver and 
copper, followed the Delhi style, but soon developed characteristic features 
of its own, although the copper coins retained the motif of their Delhi 
originals, i. e., the Sultan’s name in a square. The standard was evident- 
ly set by the Gujarati ‘rati’ weighing 1.85 grains. The first Persian coins 
known were struck by Ahmad I (1411-43), founder of Ahmedabad (1411) 
and of Ahmadnagar (1427). Mahmud I (1458-1511) set up two mints 
at Mustafabad in Girnar, and Mahammadabad (Carhpaner) respectively. 
His gold coins were the finest of all. His silver coins, ornate with legends 
enclosed in hexagons, scalloped circles and other geometrical figures, bear 
inscriptions that are, for the most part, simple : on the obverse various 
titles and formulae, on the reverse the king’s name with, sometimes, his 
‘laqab’ or title. Bahadur Shah (1526-36 A. D.) captured Mandu, the capital 
of Malwa in 1530, and thence issued some copper coins. Gold pieces are 
rare, save those issued by Mahmud III, The earlist Indian coins to bear a 
Persian couplet were those issued by Mahmud II, dated A. H. 850.*” interesting arc the ‘ pedigree coins ’ of Gujarat, each struck for 
some special occasion, on which the strikers trace their descent back to the 
founders of their dynasties. One struck by Ahmad I and dated A. H. 828, is 
the earliest known Gujarat coin of this type. Although most of the coins 
seem to have been struck at Ahmedabad, the actual name of that town 
appears only on the copper coinage of Muzaffar III, while Ahmadnagar is 
mentioned by name on a copper coin of Ahmad I. 

Muzaffar III gave permission to the Jama of Navanagar to coin ‘Koris’ 
(i.e., copper-pieces) on condition that they bore the name of the Sultan. Such 
*koris’ were also coined for several countries by the chiefs of Junagadh and 
Porbandar. The silver coins struck in the Junagadh mint are known as 
‘Diwanshahi korls’, each kori worth l/3rd of a rupee, or 8d. They bore the 

63. The inscription runs as this “So long as the sphere of the seat of the mint, 
the orb of the Sun and Moon remains, may the coin of Mahmud Shah the 
Sultan, the aid of the Faith, remain !“. 


Samvat year in Nagari characters, and the Hijrl year and an inscription with 
the names of the Junagadh BabI and Sri Diwap in Persian. The smaUer 
copper coin called ‘dokadd’, 24 for a Jamash^i, and 36 for a Junigadh Kori, 
was further divided into ‘trambia’ (a copper coin), a half>dokada in value. 

The coinage of Gujarat underwent a great change in the time of the 
Mughals. The reform in the coinage, though completed by Akbar, was mostly 
due to Sher Shah Surl, who introduced a new standard of 178 grains for 
silver, called a ‘rupee’, and one of about 330 grains for copper called a “dam”, 
which was divided into two, four, eight and sixteen parts." He also opened 
a great number of new mints. We have already referred to the special value 
placed on coining by Muslim sovereigns. Akbar used the coinage to 
propagate his ‘ Din-e-Ilahi ’, or ‘ Divine Faith’. His ‘Ilahi’ coins, stamped 
with the words ‘ AUah u Akbar ’ first appeared in 1579, his new regnal era. 
His coins were very beautiful, but he was sparing in image-devices on his 
coinage. The half -rupee seems to have been in special demand in Surat, and 
in Akbar’s reign it was also the principal coin issued from Kabul. ‘ Nisars ’ 
were small pieces of silver occasionally struck for largesse. 'The Mughal 
copper coinage, based on Sher Shah’s ‘dam’ was called ‘Sikkah fulus’, 
meaning stamped copper money. ‘ Damra ’ was equal to a quarter dam, and 
‘ damn ’ to l/8th of a dam. ‘ Tankdh ’ of 644 grains, with its half, quarter, 
one-eighth and one-sixteenth parts was issued from the. Ahmedabad mint; 
the ' tankt ’, equal to one-tenth of a ‘ tankdh’ was introduced by Akbar. 

Jahangir’s coins are remarkable alike for beauty and originality of 
design. In fact, both he and Akbar turned coinage into a medium of 
artistic expression, so that it reached the height of its beauty during their 
reigns. Coins stamped with Nur Jahan’s name along with his own, still 
bear witness to the king’s great love for his brilliant queen.® In the 
thirteenth year of his reign Jahangir issued coins stamped with the signs 
of the Zodiac, but they remained only five months in circulation. His 
earliest coins from the Ahmedabad mint bore the name ‘ Salim ’ — the name 
he was known by inihe days before he became Emperor. 

64. This reformed system of currency, that lasted throughout the Mughal period 
and was continued by the East India Company down to 1835, was the basis of 
British currency in India. 

65. Surat and Ahmedabad, among other mint-towns, issued coins with the inscrip- 
tion, “In the thirteenth year of the installation, Nur Jahan, wife of the king 
Jahangir, son of king Akbar, Lady Governor of Ahmedabad.” 

— B. G.IV., p. 254. 



Aurangzeb, on re'^introducing the Jaziya, or Poll-tax on non-Muslims, 
had a special coin struck in a number of mints, usually square in shape, 
which he named the * Dirham-i-Shan\ or ‘legal dirham’. 

Farruk Siyar (1713-1719 A. D.) lacking both in strength and money, 
adopted the fatal policy of farming out the mints, whereupon the independent 
and semi-independent chiefs and States started coins of their own, with the 
nominal consent of the Delhi emperor, but almost invariably in his name, and 
keeping to the Mughal style and superscription, which remained in force 
right upto the 19th century. 

The English Factory at Bombay or Mumbai, opened in the reign of 
Farruk Siyar, reproduced the ‘ rupee * of the Mughal emperors. 

The Marathas seized the important mint of Ahmedabad in 1752; and 
the coins struck there were all in the Mughal style, bearing as a characteri- 
stic mark the ^Ankush’ or elephant-goad. The Bhohsala Rajas captured the 
Surat mint, which is mentioned by name on their rupees. The Gaekwar also 
had a mint at Baroda, opened in about 1748, when the Nawab was independent 
of the Emperor of Delhi, where pure metal was coined, until Scindia conquered 
Broach and issued the ‘ Broach rupee, when alloy was introduced, the Broach 
rupee being 15i( annas, and ‘ Babashai ’ 14 annas in value. The Baroda silver 
coins were called ‘ Siyashahi ’ or, more often ‘ Babashai ’ with J, i and k pieces. 
The regent Fatehsinh was called Baba Saheb, and the rupee was either 
called after him, or after Babaji Apaji, one time Commander of the Gaek- 
war’s army. As for Shiyashal, it is obvious that it must be the coinage of 
Sayajlrao I, since there were no coins before his time. “The annual output 
of silver coins from the Baroda mint amounted nearly eighty years ago to 
about 75 lakhs of rupees,’’ °° and the currency circulated throughout the 
Baroda, Mahl and Rewakantha States. The obverse side of the coin bore, 
in Nagarl characters, the words ‘ Sikkay Mubarik, Sena- 

khaskhel Shamsher Bahadur ’ in Persian character. 

The Spanish dollar, or ‘ ral ’ worth about two rupees and a quarter, 
which seems to have circulated in Gujarat about two centuries ago,*^ again 
crept into the province from the neighbouring Portuguese settlements in 
Dlv, and in Saiurastra, even cash land-taxes w^ere fixed in Spanish dollars in 
the early days of the Maratha occupation. 

66. Baroda Gazetteer, I, p. 354. 

67. ^ *5: 

^ ^ Jifl, d ^ ? 

— gfirfk ^ («. \m\). 

meaning “My words are as genuine as the rupee known as ral **. 


A most important reference to the various coins current in Gujarat in 
the 17th centiury is found in |lsabhadas’ Kumarapdla Raaa composed in 
Samvat 1670 or 1614 A. D. He mentions (1) the gold coin known as 
‘ Sonaiya or the ancient Suvarna; (2) the ‘hun’, a corruption of *honnu’, 
Kanarese for a half-pagoda weighing about 30 grains of gold; (3) the 
‘Abhrami’; (4) the ‘Laris’, curious silver coins of Bijapur, called fish-hook 
money, which towards the end of the 16th century became one of the 
standard currencies among traders in the Indian ocean; (The name is 
derived from the port Lar, on the Persian Gulf, where this coin was first 
struck.) (5) the ‘Asiri’, which may either be Assyrian coin, or, reading 
‘Asiri’, as ‘Arisi’, the Roman gold coin; (6) the horsemen-stamped coins, 
(7) silver ‘rals’, just explained above; (8) the coin last mentioned cannot be 

Lastly, we come to the public value of the coinage of Gujarat. Coins 
with effaced inscriptions were not accepted as valid tender, for the letters on 
the coin are of great import. So also, it is the bust or head on the coin that 
matters, not the metal.® Premanand describing the incident of the “Hun^i”, 
or the Bill of Exchange, written by Narasiriiha Mehta on Samalshah Sheth 
of Dwarka puts these words into the mouth of the great devotee : — “Pay 
him 700 rupees full, after ascertaining their exact weight; see that they are 
not counterfeit, and are not yet circulated in currency, with their edges 
intact, pure white, just fresh Irom the mint, which have stood the test of 
heat, and are coined in broad day-light; which are neither of less weight 
nor of larger (uncommon) size, struck only this year and have the latest 
seal (or stamp).™ 

*5 ^ airs w w ” 

— iw ', arr. «i. *r. 4l. « : 'i, 

69. “ STO arsSR cT stig 

f5I?t SW iriff % ^ B§.” 

70. “ ^6% ^ arol 

NSr? ^ IjRJ, 3rPT% 

35rar, tnm 5t ?ri^t ^ I'sn, 

^ 5ifi[, flter invJrT, ^1^*1 ^ aw'l siw.” 

— JlwrsHr ‘1^’, «V5 ? : 



A Hindi ‘Lavarti’ evidently composed in 1837, just after the British 
currency was introduced, enunciates, in its very first line, a great truth 
about the psychology of currency : “His coinage is really valid and deserving 
respect, who wields authority with his sword." The Kalddr” has supplanted 
all other currency; (because) the prowess of the Angrez is certainly overr 
powering. They have established a just rule at Calcutta. As paper 
drowned in water makes the ink (on it) washed out, so all other kingdoms 
are drowned; and the (power of) throne at Delhi and Agra is now broken; 
all other coinage is stopped; the Kalddr is the current coin.” 

VII. Law and Administration 

The Hindu law governing the people of Gujarat, which is held supreme 
even to-day, was accepted during the rule of Mughal supremacy in the 
province as holding good in law courts. It is interesting to record in this 
respect that the benevolent rule of the great Mughals was instrumental here 
also, in extending the Mayukha law to Gujarat Hindus. The history of this 
compilation is worth a mention. Bhagavanta Rai, a Hindu king of a 
small kingdom in the district where the Cambal meets the Yamuna— perhaps 
dissatisfied with the Viramitrodaya, the compilation by one Mitramisra 
for his patron Virasimha of Bundel Khand, who had at the instigation of 
Salim, killed Abul Fazal, and hence was looked down upon by good Hindus— 
secured the services of Nilakantha, the greatest Hindu jurist of his time, son 
of Sankara Bhatt and the grandson of Narayana Bhatt, on whom Akbar had 
conferred the title of ‘ Jagadguru Nilakantha (Circa 1620 A.D.) made a 
complete compilation which is regarded as a standard work of Smrti all 

71. “ W ^ 35MIT, 

aPKSt ifiWI 

sr?: : 

w ^ ^ 

i:? sfiT ■'(tv. 

~iH ?. 

— MSS. Collection of the Forbes Gujarati Sabha, Bombay : Descriptive Cata- 
logue, p. 241. 

72. ‘ Kaldar ' from ‘ Kalld ' (head or bust) in Persian, meaning that which bears 
the stamp of the head. 


over India, except Bengal and Mithila. The work collectively goes under 
the name of ‘Bhagavanta Bhaskara', from the name of the patron. Bach 
book is a * Mayukha*— a ray — issuing from the Bhaskara or the Sim. These 
two compilations — Viramitrodaya and Mayukha were — presumably made 
during the reigns of the emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan. 

During the Maratha rule in Gujarat, administration of justice had been 
sternly rough and ready. It was also expensive, as the first object of both 
Civil and Criminal courts was to draw a revenue from the cases brought 
before them. Even death-sentences for murder were commuted, on a pay- 
ment of a heavy fine. During the years (1783-1805) when the Broach dis- 
trict was under the government of the Marathas, places of trust even in the 
judiciary were put up for sale and generally the farmer of revenue was the 
Civil Judge also. Hence the important trust of administering civil and 
criminal justice was in the hands of the farmers of revenues, whose neglect 
of ever 3 rthing that offered trouble without a prospect of emolument, naturally 
rendered the subjects restless and dissatisfied. In civil cases, the Ijardar or 
Kamavisdar always demanded one-fourth of the sum which might be awarded 
by the arbitrators, the whole of which share went to his own use and the 
person who gained the cause became answerable for the payment of this 
one-fourth. None of the proceedings of the case were committed to writing 
beyond the Kamavisdar’s clerk, who entered in his diary the benefits 
that accrued from the decision of any disputed point. And as the Kama- 
visdar seldom resided in the district himself, he was in the habit of appointing 
a clerk to officiate for him. It was no wonder, therefore, that such disputes 
of a civil nature as arose concerning landed property and debt were almost 
always submitted to the arbitration of the Pancayat. 

Thus the government was limited by positive law, it was held in check 
by the customs of the country which it was obliged to respect. In all disputes 
concerning property, however, the Hindu or Mahomedan law, according to 
the faith of the parties, directed the decision. In criminal cases, again the 
Kamavisdar was the judge. But his power was to a certain degree limited, 
for he was liable to be called to account by the Sarkar or Government for 
excessive fines, and was not vested with the power of inflicting capital 
punishment. In cases of oppression, too, the subjects might complain to the 
Sarkar against him, and sometimes they succeeded. 

As in Europe, in mediaeval times the system of justice was principally 
one of the ordeals and oaths. However strong his case, the complainant pre- 
ferred to compel the defendant to undergo an ordeal, or to take an oath; 
while the defendant, on the other hand, often sought to anticipate him, to the 



same judicium dei. Thus the point in dispute was often determined by the 
success of one of the parties in putting the other upon his trial by oath or 
ordeal; for, especially in the case of persons of character, it was held more 
creditable to retire from the contest rather than to maintain it upon the 
ordealistic ground. 

The Marathas were not, as a rule, cruel in their proceedings in criminal 
matters, except in their efforts to ascertain guilt. The usual punishments 
inflicted were fines, imprisonment or banishment, and in very rare cases, 
death. But almost every crime became commutable for money, and fines 
were considered a regular branch of revenue. There was the Paficayat at the 
base, which was the rude and ancient device of the people to whom govern* 
ment could not give prompt and cheap justice; there were the Kamavisdars 
whose real business was to get money out of the district they farmed, and to 
whom civil and criminal justice was a strange wearisome task, excepting in 
so far that fines brought in money. 

We close this section of law and justice by a reference to a community 
in Gujarat, which reserved to itself the rights of deciding civil as well as 
criminal actions by its inmates. Caste-questions by Hindus were decided at 
a meeting of the caste. Among Musalmans social disputes were settled by 
the Kazi. Revenue matters were disposed of in the revenue office, in accord- 
ance with the opinions of district hereditary officers and headmen of villages 
or arbitrators. Though village Pancayats had powers to dispose of matters 
relating to revenue and civil causes, yet the criminal cases v/ere only taken 
cognisance of by them by being sent for final disposal to higher authorities. 
The opulent community of Bohoras — the trading class — still possesses within 
itself a strong governing power. Its civil and criminal disputes are settled 
within the community and recourse is never had to the Government Law 

VIII. Public Service 

Generally the rulers utilized the services of local men who were 
of greater use in the administrative work because of their close acquaintance 
with the land and the people. But it is doubtful whether the highest places 
were thrown open to the natives of the soil without any distinction of race, 
colour or creed. The village autonomy and the undisturbed working of 
revenue collection and preservation of peace in rural areas was done mostly 
by hereditary officers of the place, who having their personal interests bound 
up with the country they administered were generally prone to be just and 
unoppressive. This was the civil side of public service. 

73. Barodd Gazetteer, p. 347. 


As regards commands in army the rulers had not so much faith in 
their efl&ciency and strength; moreover the conquered race could not- be 
supposed to be fit to guard the conquerer’s interests against a possible 
invader. There are no doubt examples of Brahmin and Jaina brave 
generals and soldiers during the Hindu period with equally solitary but 
renowned names under the Mahomedan rule also. But the generality 
of the people of Gujarat became unaccustomed to fight, for want 
of any state support in the military vocation, and the stifling of the martial 
spirit was completed by their becoming strict vegetarians. The Gujaratis 
grew unaggressive and docile, generally leaving off fighting as a profession. 
These then joined the middle class usually going by the name “Brahmana 
Vania*', where Ksatriya, the second in the grade of the Varnas brushed 
aside in the social fabric as inferior to a humanitarian Vaisya, who was 
coming into prominence since Mularaja, effected the unification of the people 
of Gujarat under one supreme rule, in the tenth century A. D. 

Hence the whole Hindu mass of Gujarat, which became unfitted as 
well as unwilling to fight, due to the dominance of the docile doctrine 
of Ahimsa, has been likened by a writer to an elephant. In spite of its 
enormous size and strength, the elephant is by nature timid and inoffensive 
though it can be trained to fight and to courageously withstand fire : so 
also the vegetarian Gujarati, when trained to fight, did perform deeds of 
valour, and the heroic sentiment displayed in some of the heroic couplets, 
quoted by Hemacandra in his Prakrt Grammar, presumably from current 
floating literature in Gujarat, bears ample testimony to the prevalence of 
martial spirit among Gujaratis. But the generality of the people were 
rather afraid to endanger life, and naturally shrank at the least display 
of a riot or military raid. 

The most apparent cause of the disappearance of a warlike spirit 
among Gujaratis, who had a brilliant past history of valour and military 
achievement, seems to be the vast diminution in the fighting classes, as 
an immediate outcome of the rigidity of caste about 1000 A. D. The fighting 
people, the Rajputs, who by heredity and present occupation were fit and 
disposed to fight, were being diminished by internecine fighting. The number 
of those who could fight for independence of the community thus became 
limited. Though later law-givers had attempted to lay open the military 
profession for other Varnas, by laying do^^^n that though ordinarily it was 
the duty of the Ksatriyas to take up arms, it was yet the duty of all the three 
higher Varnas to defend with arms when religion was threatened; and 
religion or Dharma, according to Hindu notion, included politics; and 



imposition of the yoke of a foreign people and dogma, was certainly a 
danger to religion. 

But it was impossible to expect them to come to the mark of real 
fighters, bred up as they were for generations in professions which were do- 
cile, and in a spirit of submission. The rigidification of caste undermined the 
growth of such a new feeling and the chance of the whole population being 
a recruiting ground for an army, fighting for the nation's existence, was lost 
for ever. Thus the Ksatriya population, together with aboriginal Kolis and 
Bhils, were the only recruiting ground. It is indeed true, as shown above, 
that the exception tests the rule Cexceptio prohat regulum*) rather than 
prove it, viz., that the Brahmins and the Vaisyas, then as now, were as a 
rule unwilling and even unfitted to take up arms. To add to this the 
fortunes of Gujarat had completely changed with Allaudin's victory over 
Hindu rule; and the Hindu was hunted down from his high position either 
in the army or trade, and the prospects of a political life were sealed, until 
partially relieved by the conciliatory policy of Akbar. 

But then, this downtrodden state meant much more to the ideals of 
society and the national character of Gujaratis, in whom the idea of ‘nation' 
could not develop, and the people as a whole never thought of uniting to 
oppose foreigner's conquest. Their only concern was preservation of their 
race-purity in the caste-system and to guard against non-interference in the 
rule and conduct of their guilds and Mahajans. 

The life of Hindus was thus circumscribed to their social, industrial 
and religious spheres of existence, and though they remained in Gujarat they 
were not of Gujarat as far as political government was concerned, provided 
they were left to themselves undisturbed in the enjoyment of civic rights. 
The people did not think that the State was theirs and the king ought also 
to be theirs. The country belonged to the king and any one might be king 
whom God chose. Under this view of the State, the sentiment of nationality 
could not arise, nor could the virtue of patriotism grow in such a soil. 
There was the sentiment of loyalty no doubt; to die for ^he Master was the 
highest dharma of a Rajput soldier. But when the master failed and another 
master was substituted by will of God, the soldier was ready to die for him 
also. Thus are found Hindu soldiers, Rajputs, Brahmins and Vaisyas, dying 
for Mahomedan kings and masters. 

Let us examine the principles followed in throwing open the higher 
services to the Hindus by the predecessors of the great Mughuls in Gujarat. 
The intensity of Islamic penetration having been spent when the Mahomed- 
ans turned their attention to the administration of their newly conquered 


dominions, they found it no easy task. History will bear out that warriors 
and adventurers are no doubt a great asset to the State, but a State in order 
to be firm and lasting cannot live by means of war alone : and it must look 
for its vitality in directions other than the strength of the sword. 

Administration of the conquered territory is a sine qua non of every 
conquerer. But the Mahomedans were at a discount, who, as adventurers 
and warriors had flocked to the Crescent to wage holy war against the in- 
fidels, but had failed, when the services of the artisans and colonists were 
required. The same remark holds good in the case of the Marathas who were 
bom soldiers in their occupation of Gujarat, but they lacked miserably the 
art of government. Though reluctant, the conquerers had mainly to depend 
on the conquered for their invaluable aid in the realm of architecture 
agriculture, domestic service, coinage, medicine, and building of houses and 
the like. The collection of revenue was mainly entrusted to the children 
of the soil. 

With the march of time, a fair percentage of Hindus was recruited for 
the army and we come across occasional glimpses of Hindus getting up 
the highest offices of the realm under the Sultans of Gujarat and the Mughal 
emperors. One great disqualification of the Hindus, it has been urged, 
which debarred them from filling higher posts, was their lack of knowledge 
of Persian and Arabic, the language of the rulers. This want of knowledge 
of Persian and Arabic was entirely due to the aversion and antipathy of 
the Hindus towards the Mahomedans, the Hindus with their rigid caste 
regulations looked down upon the acquirements of the language of the latter 
that being an act of pollution, akin to their loss of caste.” 

Events moved quickly to the relaxation of the Hindu orthodoxy and 
Persian became later on a widely read language; so much so, that the 
Hindus outstripped sometimes the Mahomedans in composition, prose and 
verse. The joint author of Mirat-i~Ahmadl, Kayastha Mithalal, is a glaring 
example in point. The surname ‘Munshi’ accepted by certain Hindus, as 
we find in a stone-inscription on the Mahammadabad gate at Radhanpur, 
dated 1777 A. D., where Mehta Dinanath, decidedly a Hindu, is described 
as the composer and writer of the inscription in Persian." 

74. Cf, Krsparam’s fling at the study of Persian by Brahmins : 

“ wftraNr ftTs, 

fftTfi, JtOT ” 

75. Bhavnagar Inscriptions, p. 51. 



The assimilation of the Hindu Chiefs by marriage alliances, the throw- 
ing open of the highest stations in the service to the men of intellect without 
any distinction of caste and creed, and giving a dead seal to the obnoxious 
tax which made the invidious distinction between the Hindus and the Maho- 
medans — was the chief feature of Akbar’s reign. 

We would mention one instance under the Sultans of Gujarat, when 
a Brahmin soldier was holding an important military command, Malek 
Gopi or Gopinath, a Vadnagara Nagar, who sank the Gopi Talav and 
founded Gopipura, a suburb of Surat, by the end of the 15th century A. D., 
was a minister of Muzaffar Shah and had risen to power through Mahmud 
Begda’s favour. He had interceded for Bhima, the Raja of Idar, and had 
obtained from the Sultan forgiveness for his resistance. He helped Muzaffar 
Shah to come to the throne, and held the reins of administration of his 
government with Kava-ul-mulk Sarang.’® He had done his best to alleviate 
the horrors of the great famine of 1482 A. D., which visited Gujarat, by 
freely entertaining the famine-stricken with plenty of food. 

One Krpasankar Lalji was also a Nagar Brahmin warrior of 
Mahudha, District Kaira, who was in command of 10,000 soldiers and had 
gained a victory for Rustamali Khan against Hamid Khan, a claimant for the 
governorship of Surat. The account of the incident has been preserved for 
us, curiously enough by a poet of the type of Samal Bhatt, in Rustam 
Bahadur no Pavddo^ This is again corroborated by another historical 
ballad, Kripdsankar Lalji, Nagar Mahudhid no Rdsado, in the MSS. 
collection of Dahilaksmi Library, Nadiad. We read of a Nagar Brahmin 
Sarhbhuram, the minister of Momin Khan who had taken Ahmedabad 
(1755), driving back all assaults of the Maralhas and at times dashing out in 
the most brilliant and destructive sallies— the Brahmin playing the role 
of a soldier of note.’^ These incidents are specially important as showing 
Brahmins being in charge of responsible military offices under the 
Mahomedan rule, the ‘Pavado’ of Samal Bhatt being composed almost 
contemporaneously with the incident. 

To give an example from the Maratha period in Gujarat, one 
Jagannath Laldas, a Surat merchant and Company’s broker, when he was 
placed in prison by the Company’s servants, made good his escape and 

76. Vide the ^ \ a eulogy of Gopinath by his protege poet Hira, 

published in the Library Miscellany, 1914, by the late C. D. Dalai. 

77. Edited by Dr, H. Bhayani (1956) for Forbes Gujarati Sabha, Bombay. 

78. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. IV, p. 258, foot-note. 


hastened to the Marathas’ camp (1738), where he was well received, taken 
into service, and entrusted with an important military command, the duties 
of which he discharged efficiently. This episode in Jagannath’s life is 
interesting, as showing that among the Vanias, centuries of trading had 
not deprived them all of that capacity for military affairs, which in the times 
of the ancient Hindu rule, had made men of his caste the greatest 
commanders of the Anhilwad kings.'” 

79. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. II, p. 112, foot-note. 

Chapter V 


A set of adjustments, peculiar to human beings, which arises from the 
fimdamental fact of sex, and the necessity for the preservation of the race, 
developed into an institution which we know as ‘Marriage and Family*. 
Such adjustments are as necessary as devices for securing food and even 
more so than organised self-defence or systems of law and government; for, 
whereas the latter lift the race to a plane above the purely bestial, the former 
are indispensable to the continuation of any ordered form of existence 
whatsoever. Unlike the plants and lower animals, human babies require the 
combined support and protection of their parents in order to attain a healthy 
maturity, and this is only possible if the parents live together in a relationship 
not existing in nature but demanded by social custom, viz., Marriage. 

There was, however, something more fundamental in primitive marri- 
age than mere desire to protect the young. It was predominantly an econo- 
mic alliance, a case of co-operation in the struggle for existence. Woman, 
physically weaker than man, seldom went in for strenuous hunting or fight- 
ing, preferring to tend the fire and carry the household goods from camp to 
camp. There was division of labour perfectly satisfactory to men and women 
alike, whereby each sex complemented and so perfected the other, and made 
it possible for the household machinery to run with the minimum amount of 
friction and the maximum amount of efficiency. Such a division of labour, 
or specialization of functions, accompanied by mutual co-operation between 
the sexes, is known as ‘Marriage’, and it is practised in some form or other 
by nearly all known people; it is but a step to the organization known as 
the ‘Family*. 

Men have quarrelled all through history over property and women; 
and it was for the welfare of society that a woman should somehow be as- 
signed to some particular man and that man’s- right to her person and labour 
be firmly guaranteed by custom and by law. This was one of the ways of 
securing the peace and order which are necessary to the welfare of any 
society. And when there was property to inherit, it was of the utmost im- 
portance to know just what persons in the next generation were to get it. 
The heirs were the legitimate children, that is to say, the children of the 
woman who had been married to the deceased owner of the property in the 



way recognized by the tribe as customary and proper. This prevented die* 
putes over the other great cause of quarrelling, viz., property. 

Within the general institution of marriage developed the organization 
known as ‘Family’. This was a combination of all those who were related, 
or were supposed to be related, by blood, also generally including the women 
who had married male members and sometimes the men who had married 
female members. The family was an organization which further harmonised 
the interests of all members, generally under the authority of a patriarch 
or father-ruler, and amounted to a sort of miniatiire government with all 
the virtues of such, in keeping peace and order. In fact, the family was one 
of the peace-groups within which the children were reared and disciplined. 

The fundamental unit of civilised society is not the individual but the 
family. The family leads the individual out of his seclusion, deprives him 
of his egoistic selfishness and lifts him to a more elevated selfishness in 
order that he should enjoy a higher life with his fellow-individuals. Social 
progress finds men in many social groups. Each of these groups moulds and 
reshapes a man. It expresses and develops a particular phase of man’s 
personality. But the foundation of them all is the Family, which is at once 
the unit of activity and the unit of enjoyment which supplies, as it were, 
the link of all social relationships. 

The Hindu family, "joint in food, worship and estate’’, is the economic 
and social nucleus of Hindu society, being a group of individuals descending 
from a common ancestor within seven generations. The family consists of 
the man and woman, their sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, who live 
together sharing the common purse. This system tends to develop a spirit 
of self-sacrifice, mutual control, and inter-dependence, which are quite 
opposed to the competitive individualistic spirit, the key-note of modern 
industrialism. The Hindu joint family is peculiar in that it is very ancient, 
that it concentrates on perpetuating the family and, at the same time, 
maintaining the purity of blood, and that, in its turn, it gives rise to the 
larger aggregate, the caste or the sub-caste. 

The influence on our socio-economic life of the ideals on which the 
Hindu joint-stock Family system is based is immense. The head of the 
family must marry its younger members at the proper time, must offer 
oblations to the manes, and propitiate the titulary deities. Marriage is a 
sacrament, and its supreme object is to perpetuate a family, a patrimony 
and a faith; it is compulsory at a particular* age, individual likes and dislikes 
being of little importance; nor are economic considerations allowed to 
stand in the way of a marriage, for the family provides adequate maintenance 
for a man’s wife and children, even if he have no income of his own. 



The joint-family system is an excellent school for discipline, self* 
sacrifice and obedience to and service of elders. It has, also, some advant- 
ages on the economic side. All the members of the family take their share 
of domestic work, and, wherever possible, contribute their bit towards 
swelling the family exchequer by lending a hand with the particular 
business which is their means of livelihood. Thus the youngsters are 
spontaneously educated in the little secrets of their arts and crafts. The 
joint income is shared by all the members according to individual need. The 
widowed and the orphaned, the disabled and the aged, are duly looked 
after. Thus the joint family dispenses with the necessity of poor relief at 
public cost. 

But in its practical working, this system is by no means ideal. It is a 
cause of over-population, lethargy, domestic squabbles and, often enough, 
bitter feuds. The position of widows in the joint family is often deplorable. 
It is a foe alike of initiative, ambition, and the accumulation of wealth. 
Gradually, however, with the changes in our economic conditions there arose 
a desire for personal liberty, which necessitated a change in the idea of the 
family as an economic unit. 

Perhaps the earliest indication of this change in our country was the 
differentiation between patrimony and self-acquired property, effected before 
the age of Manu. Both Manu and Mitdksara emphasized this distinction. 
Family property, unlike self-acquired property, could neither be gifted nor 
sold, but was held in trust for the unborn generations. Birth, adoption or 
marriage into a family gave one a right to the joint property. Buddhism, 
however, fundamentally changed the conception of property rights. The 
theory of joint-ownership was abandoned, and far greater emphasis was 
placed on partition rights. Not self-acquired property alone, but even the 
patrimony could be alienated by the Karta or head of the family. The 
patrimony was dissipated, the joint family system endangered. To check 
the excesses of individualism, the Dayabhaga School gave a new inter- 
pretation to the doctrine of Samudaya, and made a new code whereby the 
sons had no right to the ancestral property during the father’s lifetime, and 
could not enforce partition against the father’s will, and which provided two 
shares for the father in case he made a partition during his life-time. On 
the other hand, the father lost the power of alienating the ancestral property 
at will. The joint family property was thus saved from complete 

The evils of the joint family system had been intensified by the 
systems of inheritance and succession, which recognised only the right of 



inheritance. The land was divided into many small estates, which were 
continually sub-divided and became overburdened with mortgages. No 
accumulation of wealth in one family was possible. The economic stress 
turned men’s minds to new ways of acquiring wealth by trade, industry, gov- 
ernment service, and other professions, and they did not invest their gains in 
immoveable property. The land lost its hold upon them, and the family 
wealth was soon scattered and the family ruined. Quarrels and bitterness 
became the order of the day, there was no discipline, the elders were unduly 
harsh, the youngsters bitterly rebellious — in short, the Hindu home became 
a source of endless distraction and embarrassment.' The inmates of the 
family gradually came to disregard their old joint system altogether, and 
repudiated all obligations save those they owed to their nearest kith and kin. 

This individualistic spirit is mirrored in the social ballads of Gujarat; 
an extreme case of which is a popular song, known as ‘ Kera Kanfo ’. The 
new housewife, according to whose ideas, the family consists of ‘ f , t and ^ ’ 
— the three personal pronouns ‘I’, ‘You* and ‘He’ representing husband, wife 
and children and none else — does not brook the interference and elderly 
supervision of the father-in-law, as well as the presence of the mother-in- 
law, with a grandmotherly love for all the children of the joint family; and 
so also the sister-in-law, who, after she left her parental house naturally 
cherished kindest regards for the horaq of her childhood; not only these 
inmates of the family she dislikes but also sympathetic neighbours of the 
family are even not suffered to live close by her, who has her own notions 
of individualistic ideals of a family. Accordingly, she addresses her Lord 

to be relieved of these “thorns” in her even way.* 

1. Cf., Principal Anandsahkar Dhruva’s 'I’ft ” p. 486 : 

“ 3rfq«Rfi 3II5SB 3H si's; dt f5>W5RI W 

tSS, ^ >4 SIR 15, qoti ^ 3)?r am 

^ sufR qg mi SIR 3 ! ” 

2 . “ 5 i ^ •' 

Ft ^ ^ 

KJTT §?fr : 

fi % qat ! T< 2 I%, 

'PH 4isn sHw mr : hfhI— 

fi % ^ 'ntR(®i5i «[st, 

: ipr HP#—” 



This sign of disintegration marked the end of the Joint Family 
system in Gujarat and it dates back to about the 12th Century A. D.' That 
the women had a great hand in this is plain from certain poems, which, 
although usually passed over as commonplace and unimportant, yet have 
immense value for the student of Sociology. Thus we find that the lady 
of the house was really the queen of her domain, and apt to be somewhat 
severe and domineering in the exercise of her luiquestioned authority, which 
came to be resented by the younger members of the family. The daughter- 
in-law, finding herself a mere nonentity, a household drudge, with no scope 
for the development of her own individuality or the fulfilment of her own 
desires, went about her duties with outward meekness but inward rebellion. 
She thought it unfair that her husband’s earnings should go to keep the 
whole family, and she was always trying to persuade her husband to set up 
a separate establishment of their own.* Surabhat, in an unpublished poem 
called Kali Mahima (composed in S. 1704) gives us a vivid picture of the 
society of his own times from which it is plain that the attitude of the 
daughter-in-law generally considered perverse by society at large, was 

3. "That family from which the brothers have separated, is degraded, and mem- 
bers living separate are disregarded, being crippled. That shortsighted person 
who strikes at the root of family-bonds and separates, loses even the residue 
by division.” 

“ ^ I 5r ^ 51 II 

31 I 3# II” 

‘ Charchari ’ by Jinadattasuri — G. O. Series, No. XXXVII, p. 77. 

4. See also, Lavapyasamaya’s Vimalaprabandha (Samvat 1568) about the signs of 
the times in Gujarat in the middle ages : 

“ sre aft faro hri i a aifeg urt ftr jirt'ii 

ajnrn ^ am ^ aa; i ’rig ^ aia; ii 
Jira anal an ^ i aar afia faa ii ” 

— siaa, ^ a;^ to-u. 

Also, see, Bhima’s ‘Harilild’ (Saihvat 1541) : ' 

“ frar aaifif ^ 1 aift ftiwra ^ aiaa ii 
¥ira.«fe(t 31 5? «[3r I efOTift agsiftr scrsi ii 
a<wa TO I ’in% fta ii 

3na an*!! %aT i a^, *1^ ii 

3i5wift am 3iat asnK i ^ anrna 3 jk n 

TOa 5faK i ai'l ftg, aia 3?5 k m ” 

— alTOT ‘aft^tprar^’, ao'-. 



not to improve with the march of time.* An imdue preference given to the 
wife’s relations, especially to her sister, has, ftom mediaeval times, been a 
prominent feature of Hindu home-life, as we can see from the Kalikala no 
Garaho* by Vallabhabhatt (Saihvat 1790), Govindarama in Kalijugano 
Dharma' (V. S. 1837) and Kysnaram in Kalikala Varnana (V. S. 1874)* — 
which confirm Vallabhabhatt, and bewail the approaching disruption of 
the joint family. 

Marriage is regarded as sacred; even the gods are married. When the 
Hindu descends from the adoration of the Absolute and takes to the wor- 
ship of a Personal God, his god has always a consort. He does not worship a 
bachelor or a virgin. Siva is Ardhanarlswara and his image signifies the 
co-operative, interdependent, separately incomplete but jointly complete 
masculine and feminine fimctions of the supreme being. There is nothing 
unwholesome or guilty about the sex life. Through the institution of mar- 
riage, it is made the basis of intellectual and moral intimacies. Marriage is 
not so much a concession to human weakness as a means of spiritual growth. 

5. Cf., Koli Mahimd by Surabhat (Saihvat 1704), almost a contemporary utterance 
as of Rgmadas in Ddsabodha (1664 A. D.) ; 

“ ^ I tC flliT II 

^ awSf I ^ ^ ii 

RJiw 1 MW wf II 

5^ ^ I Riat (IRRiWI# 5% II 

sii*r vif, I #1-^ g w ? II ” etc. 

— (MSS. in my collection). 

6. “ ?t ft % d# siw. ” 

— q?5W. 

7. “ #1 *11^3 sf 

^ : 

^ »IR|r §1, «FRl qfYqi 1^. 

RRpft fwm nff >4f>; 

iiRn% qg jq snO qft ! ” 

8. “ ftdi jw sit, 

smr siRTJit gm h *rtt. 
gni swi, qit 

SK «n 5nC 5M, >TRr ! ” 


crmrusAL msTOBY or oujabat 

'.%■ ' ' 

It is prescribed for the sake of the development of personality as well as the 
continuance of the family ideal. Marriage is not so much a concession to 
human weakness as a means of spiritual growth. It is prescribed for the 
sake of the development of personality as well as the continuance of the 
family ideal. Marriage has its social side. Every family is a partnership 
between the living and the dead. The Sraddha ceremony is intended to im- 
press the idea of the family solidarity on the members. At the end of the 
ceremony the performer asks “Let me, O fathers, have a hero for a son !” 

The Hindu ideal emphasises the individual institution of marriage. 
Man is not a tyrant nor is woman a slave, but both are servants of a higher 
ideal to which their individual inclinations are to be subordinated. Sensual 
love is sublimated into self-forgetful devotion. Marriage for the Hindu is a 
problem and not a datum. Except in the pages of fiction we do not have a 
pair agreeing with each other in everything, tastes and temper, ideals and 
interests.’ Irreducible peculiarities there will always be, and the task of 
the institution of marriage is to use these differences to promote a har- 
monious life. Instincts and passions are the raw material which are to be 
worked up into an ideal whole. Though there is some choice with regard to 
our mates, there is a large element of chance in the best of marriages. Carve 
as we will, that mysterious block of which our life is made, the back-view 
of destiny or chance, whatever we may call it, appears again and again in it. 
That marriage is successful which transforms a chance mate into a life-com- 
panion. Marriage is not the end of the struggle, it is but the beginning of a 
strenuous life where we attempt to realize a larger ideal by subordinating 
our private interests and inclinations. Service of a common ideal can bind 
together the most unlike individuals. Love demands its sacrifices. By res- 
traint and endurance we raise love to the likeness of the divine. In an ideal 
marriage the genuine interests of the two members are perfectly reconciled. 

The perfectly ethical marriage is the monogamous one. The relation 
of Rama and Sita, of Savitri and Satyavana, where the two stand by each 
other against the whole world, is idealised in the Hindu scriptures. In the 
absence of absolute perfection we have to be content with approximations. 
Eight different kinds of marriage are recognized in the Hindu law-books. 
Manu did not shut his eyes to the practices of his contempararies. He 

9. Cf., A couplet known as 'Kfcdyai^u’, a ‘doggerel’ sung generally in Southern 
Gujarat ; 

“ 3ir ^ sPFmi 51 

— % *fo541 ” 

Also Cf., Surabhat: “ ^ i|K, inft ” 


¥ac social fACTOft ; MARRIAQS AND FAMILV : 

arranged the different kinds of marriages in an order. It seems that the 
human race had wrestled with this need of adjustment to the fact of sex, 
more or less gropingly from the most primitive stages. Every thinkable 
arrangement had been tried; polygamy, where a man had several wives; 
polyandry, where a woman had several husbands; and monogamy where one 
husband had one wife at a time. While marriages in which personal incli- 
natioxis were subordinated ranked high, those by mutual choice (Gandharva) ^ 
force {Rak^asa), purchase (Asura), came lower. The lowest was Paisa ca^ 
when the lover ravished a maiden without her consent when she was asleep 
or intoxicated or deranged in mind. It was a very low kind of marriage, 
but admitted as valid by the laudable motive of giving the injured women 
the status of wives and their offspring legitimacy. 

Insistence on the interests of the family led to a compromise of the 
monogamous ideal. While the monogamous ideal is held up as the best, 
polygamy was also tolerated. When one has no male offspring or when by 
mistake or chance he seduces a woman when he is married, it was his duty 
to protect her from desertion and from public scorn, save her from a life of 
infamy and degradation, and protect her children who were in no way res- 
ponsible for the ways of their parents; polygamy was thus permissible. The 
story of the Ramayana has, as one of its lessons, the evils of polygamy. 
The palace of Dasaratha was a centre of intrigue; and Rama, the hero of the 
story, stands up for the monogamous ideal. The recognition of marriage 
requires us to regard the marriage-relation as an indissoluble one. 

The joint family revolves upon the ring of the caste, which is nothing 
but a collection of such families or joint families, as can intermarry and 
interdine. The marriage aspect of the caste system, is of greater importance 
and is more fundamental than food or drink. If it were not for the regulations 
relating to marriage, the restrictions regarding food and drink would have 
been insufficient to maintain the institution. Its end and object was to keep 
society rigidly divided into a number of permanent groups and to prevent 
them from amalgamating. This could not be accomplished without pro- 
hibiting marriages outside the group. Though originally caste 'arose out of 
the solution of the problem of racial conflict, indiscriminate amalgamation 
was not encouraged by the Hindu thinkers. The Hindu scriptures recognise 
the rules about food and marriage which the different communities were 
practising. Manu recommended marriages, of members of the same caste 
(savarna); he tolerated marriages of men with women of the lower caste 
(Anuloma). Though he does not justify Pratiloma marriages, i. e., marri- 
ages of women of the higher castes with men of the lower, he describes the 
various progeny of such a marriage; while they were not regarded as pro- 



per, there is no doubt that they prevailed. Castes of a mixed type have been 
formed in order to regularize the position of groups originally proceeding 
from marriages forbidden or discountenanced by custom or law, but condoned 
after a time. Some of these groups which are to-day regarded as “untouch- 
able” are said to have arisen by indiscriminate crossing. 

The caste rule, under which a Hindu of the higher classes lives, 
requires him to marry a woman of his own social group, but prohibits him 
from marrying a woman of his own clan or ‘Gotra’. He is, thus, between 
two circles. He may not marry outside the larger circle and he may 
not marry within the inner one. The larger circle is known as the 
‘endogamous’ {gamos, Greek for marriage) or marrying in group. The 
smaller one is the ‘exogamous’ or marrying out of the group. Even the 
endogamous group was sometimes limited by a social custom known as 
‘hypergamy’ or marrying up, i.e., one must marry his daughter in a sub-caste 
either above or at least equal to his own. In it, we see the feeling which 
inspired Manu’s invective against marriages of women with men of lower 
degree. It is a very inconvenient custom, especially so far as the Rajaputs 
were concerned, and is largely responsible for the existence in the past 
of the barbarous practice of female infanticide. The higher the class, the 
greater was the clansman’s difficulty to find a husband for his daughter; and 
as an unmarried daughter was a disgrace to the house, the punctilious 
Rajaput in old days had sometimes to make away with baby-daughters. 

To the woman, marriage is the incident of all incidents, that one action 
to which all else in life — even the birth of her first male child— is subsidiary 
and subordinate. Marriage is to her more than an incident however 
revolutionary. It is rather the foundation of a -new life, indeed a new life 
itself. For her henceforth, her whole existence is her married life. ‘Half- 
body’ the Sanskrt poets say, not untruly, of the married woman. 

To the Hindu, marriage is something deeply spiritual, a means whereby 
two souls may attain their ultimate goal, each helping, encouraging, streng- 
thening the other. The rites and ceremonies, preceding and during the 
Gujarati Hindu wedding, make that quite clear. Betrothal can take place 
only if the horoscopes of the prospective bride and the bridegroom agree; 
they must belong to the same sub-division of the caste, but they must not 
belong to the same gotra. Marriages are generally settled by the parents so 
that desire or personal preference may not disturb the ordinances of 

At the time of marriage, the names of the ancestors both of the boy 
and the girl are recited, in order to emphasize the significance of marriage 

no; sociAt fACrott: maMIiagc and camily 


as a means to the perpetuation of the race. As the auspicious moment 
approaches, the bride and the bride-groom are made to sit facing each 
other, or side by side, before the objects of worship,” their right hands 
joined, a strand of red cotton with the Madanfala fruit (Min^hahi) tied to 
their wrists, a cloth drawn like a screen between their faces. The priests 
chant Sanskf t verses, the astrologer consults the water-clock, and when the 
exact moment has arrived, the cloth is withdrawn, and round the sacred 
sacrificial fire the couple take those ‘ seven steps ’ (Saptapadi) which 
make the marriage indissoluble. The bride -groom turns to his wife and 
utters the sacred verse, “Oh Bride, give your heart to my work, make your 
mind agreeable to mine. May the God Bjrhaspati make you pleasing to 
me”; and, in his turn, he swears not to transgress, whether for love or 
wealth. Then they go out and look upon the Polar Star, the star which 
guided the first Aryan wanderers across Asia. 

Is it not a significant thing that the bride and bridegroom are made to 
fast when others are feasting ? That, when all others are decked in fine 
clothes and ornaments, the bridal pair wears nothing but the simple white 
of sanctity and saintliness, tinged with saffron ? They are anointed with 
perfumed oils, rubbed with yellow pigments, and given purifying baths in 
the sacred presence of Aditya and Randala— the Sun and his Consort. In 
the full presence of all those assembled, the bridegroom takes the hand 
of the bride, and both play the conventional wedding games in the presence 
of the sin-destroying Family-Goddess. Their first meal together is taken in 
the presence of the all-purifying fire. The chanting of sacred and solemn 
Mantras mingle with jests and sportive songs, sung by relatives. 

10. See OkhaharaV'a by Premanand 

“ srfirewr %ar«r, gsn snO# ^ i 

... I 

^ • 

V. fmi ?^ws5i<r* «ipi i 

qfURH % wr tel I 
. • • 
tr Pift 'RPT, Jiigsft wa hr i 

iswc aal I a#, i ” etc. 



Every incident of the wedding manifests a keen awareness of the 
spiritual underlying and pervading the physical side of marriage. The 
wedding ceremony is often a sort of rehearsal of the future duties of the 
pair, a foreshadowing of their attitude towards one another. The man 
leads, the woman follows; the woman cooks and feeds the man; their gar- 
ments are tied together, a symbol of the bond that holds them; and it reveals 
what is expected from the wife — ^faithfulness, industry, and fruitfulness. 
The man is actually lord and master, the woman his willing servant — 
although the bridegroom says as they walk around the sacred fire : “Let 
us live together and take counsel of one another.” And again : “By taking 
these seven steps, we become friends ! 

These wedding ceremonies were most important in more ways than 
one, for they gave the necessary publicity to the event. There was no other 
way of getting publicity and the recollections of living witnesses were the 
only records. 

Marriage was a spirtual connection as well as a bond of love; and 
wifehood was almost a religion in itself to the Hindu woman, involving the 
greatest love and self-surrender. Young girls worshipped, and worship even 
to-day, ^liva and Parvati, Krsna and Tulasi, observe the socio-religious vows 
called ‘Vrofas’, praying for a worthy husband and the gift of sons. Pre- 
manand’s Okhaharana offers a popular instance of this mental attitude. 

The prohibition of widow-remarriage among the Aryan castes is an 
ancient custom among the Hindus, as old as the Sutras or perhaps the Vedas; 
yet the prohibition was not, of course, universal. Al-Beruni (1050 A. D.) 
says rightly of his time, that widows could not remarry; they might either 
burn themselves on the pyre of their dead husband or lead an ascetic life. 
“The widows of kings” he observes, “are usually burnt, unless they are old 
or have sons alive.”" Thus women once married could not be remarried 
—at least in the three higher castes. Those castes which had not yet set up 
a claim to the higher ceremonial purities were free to compound with human 
desires by a second marriage devoid of sacramental significance. It was in 
the higher classes that the woman had to pay for the pride of the caste by 
her individual austerities. 

The new custom of child-marriage which grew about the 10th century 
A. D. combined with the ancient custom of the prohibition of the widow- 
remarriage led, in due time, to the miserable class of women among high-class 

10“. See, Premfinand’s Okhaharar^a. 

11. Sachau, Vol. I, page 155. 



Hindus called ‘child>widows *; and strangely enough, the rule of Manu-Smrti 
which provided for the remarriage of girls whose husbands died before con- 
summation of marriage, was also at this time put into abeyance by a 
Kalivarjya provision. We come across the force of this convention which 
had become a social control on the minds of the higher castes in the historical 
instance of Jaga^u’s daughter (about Samvat 1300), who was widowed just 
idter the marriage. Jaga^u, a millionaire and a devout Jaina of Bhadresvara 
(Kaccha) , at this calamity, came forward to marry her to another man, after 
having obtained the consent of the elders of his caste; but at this juncture, 
two old but nobly-born and clever widows from his caste, decked with rich 
ornaments, approached him and spoke in clear terms as follows : “If you are 
on a look-out for a husband for your widowed daughter, do find us also new 
husbands.” At these words of bitter irony, Jagadu looked down for shame> 
an*!! he refrained from taking the bold step against the caste conventions. 
As a result, Jagadu encouraged his daughter to a life of asceticism.” 

A solitary but equally prominent example coming up as a glaring 
exception to the prohibition of widow-remarriage occurs in the life of the 
reputed Vastupala and Tejahpala, the twin-ministers of Viradhavala, the 
sons of Kumaradevi, a child-widow. This fact though passed over as humi- 
liating to his patron by Somesvara in his eulogistic poems, is none the less 
faithfully recorded by Jaina writers. Haribhadrasuri, while discoursing 
at Patan, was pointedly casting looks at a child-widow, named Kumaradevi. 
At the end of the discourse, he being questioned by Asvaraja, an Osval 
Vaisya by caste who was present there, the Suri spoke in a prophetic strain : 
“She will be the mother of two sons shining bright like the sun and the 
moon of Jainism; therefore marry her.” And thus were the two ministers 
born of the union of Asvaraja and Kumaradevi. But then this exception 
strengthens the fact of the convention rather than weakens it. 

thild-marriages came into vogue owing to people’s desires to prevent 
women becoming Buddhist nuns. Buddhism allowed only women of grown- 
up age to become nuns; and hence the marriage of girls at an early age must 
have become popular as a precaution. Buddhism was suppressed towards 
the end of the 8th or 9th century A, D,, and the custom of child-marriage 
must have grown further into popular favour.'” 

Child-marriages, as far as we can tell, came into practice between 
800 and 1000 A. D. It is difficult to say 'why, but certainly not because 

12. Cf. Sn Jagadu Caritom, CaqtQ III, verges 21-27, 

13. Vaidya, III, page 399, 



of Muslim oppression; for they were already prevalent in 1030 A. D. 
Al'Beruni mentions them,** and he obviously speaks from experience, 
not hearsay. Perhaps the climate of this country, which brings early 
maturity both to boys and girls, had something to do with it. Be that 
as it may, Hindu parents believed that their primary duty towards 
their children was to get them married. Custom as well as the Sastras 
enjoined the marriage of girls under ten. In Gujarat, where inter-caste 
marriages were out of question, people were compelled to marry their 
daughters at such times as might be most convenient to the bridegroom, 
for fear, lest all the eligible young men might be snapped up, by other girls. 
Early betrothals further encouraged this custom. Betrothal of a son not 
yet out of the cradle" was considered to be an indication of high position in 
the caste. Moreover, in spite of all the strictures to the contrary, girls were 
but too often sold to the highest bidder (sometimes very old men), and thbir 
guardians married them off as soon as possible in order to be on the safe side 

An extreme custom of infant-marriages prevails among Kadava 
Kanabis. Tiny children and even unborn children are married, when 
pregnant women walk round the “Cori” on the understanding that if their 
children are a boy or a girl, the couple will marry. If a suitable husband could 
not be secured for a girl, she was married to a bunch of flowers, which were 
afterwards thrown into a well or a river; and the girl, then a widow, could at 
any time be married according to the simple Natrd form. Thus the custom, 
which originated just after the doctrine of Buddhism, got the sanction of the 
Hindu society under the changed life-conditions of the Mahomedan rule, and 
took definite form under aggravating circumstances. In the period of general 
insecurity of person and property, journeys to distant places were attended 
with danger; and the people grew anxious to transfer the guardianship of 
their daughter as early as possible to persons in their own or neighbouring 
villages, instead of seeking alliances for them in remote parts of the country. 

14. “The Hindus marry at an early age, and hence parents ^.rrange for the marri- 
age of their children.” (Sachau, II, p. 155.) 

15. Cf. the Gujarati phrase for it : “ ”. 

16. “ TO3 ^ ^ ” 

Also see, Samalbhatt refers to this social evil in lines such as these — 

“ ^ ^ ^ nil IJW |j, Spf % I ” 

end, “ qra % 

fjRi ^ 



Early marriages are partly responsible for woman’s subjection, as the 
girl has no time to realise herself or to think out any problems either - in 
her own life or in the world around, before she is immersed in a household 
where all her duties are ready and little initiative is required. To love her 
husband, whatever he is, is her vocation and if she loves, it is fatally easy 
for her to obey; and so she falls into the way of yielding to the greatest 
pressure and stifling any dawning instincts of unconventionality. 

The practice of early marriages and Female Infanticide are closely 
connected; for, each was adopted partly on account of the disgrace attaching 
to parents whose daughters are unmarried. A son can conduct his parent’s 
funeral ceremonies, and thus give their souls entrance into heaven; he is also 
a promise of support for old age; but a daughter has to be married and much 
expense is laid out on the ceremony. A curious contradiction is afforded in 
the reverence paid to mothers, and the comparative indifference to daughters 
and sisters; even this can be explained by the opinion that a woman has 
only fulfilled the end of her destiny when she has become a wife and a 
mother. But probably, the problem of the attitude towards girls is at base 
an economic one rather than a depreciation of sex. Female infanticide 
was formerly practised in Gujarat by the Jadeja Rajaputs and Kulin 
Kanabis whose marriage-customs involved such high expenditure for the 
relations of the bride, that the birth of a daughter was universally regarded 
as a curse. It became a custom to kill the girl-babies by plunging them into 
a pot of milk immediately after birth, a process known as ‘Dudha PitV or 
making the child drink milk ! 

It remains a fact in Gujarat that in all castes, speaking generally, 
male children are desired and the birth of a female child is imwelcome." 
When a son is born, sweetmeats are distributed and ^VadhamanV — the good 
tidings — are sent to friends and relations. Nothing of the sort is done when 
a daughter is born. She is spoken as a ‘Patharo' or a stone, and receives 
less attention than a boy. This is specially so amongst castes where the 
procuring of a bridegroom is a matter of considerable expense. "This 
difference of treatment doubtlessly exercises some adverse effect on 
female life. The contrast between a son and a daughter is beautifully 
brought out in two doggerels, known as ‘Khdyana' (sung while pounding 
corn) one of which suggests that the house is empty at night when 
daughters go to their husbands’, whereas the house with sons gets an 

17, Ct Gujarati proverb : “ W ^ 



addition of sons’ wives in the evening.'* 

The custom of infant marriages was not so much harmful as the 
custom of enforced widowhood for women; because in practice, child 
marriage had some clear advantages. The parents of the bride-groom 
and the bride belonged to the same caste and the same social condition; 
and from childhood the girl and the boy were brought up in a belief that 
they were destined to be wife and husband, and that their mutual relation 
was as much the work of nature and consequently inviolable, as the relation 
between brother and sister, or parents and children. This belief entered 
into the formation of their character, and they grew up as wife and husband 
and consequently became adapted to each other. Cases of child marriage, 
proving ill-sorted afterwards were, therefore, extremely rare and deserved 
no consideration. 

But the mother-in-law rubbed off her poor little daughter-in-law’s 
angularities in a very short time in the domestic social mill. Her tyranny 
was proverbial, and this sad truth has been crystallized in pithy saws.” Thus 
mother-in-law was one of the worst evils of early marriage. And as tyranny 
is always morally worse for the tyrant than the slave, the mother-in-law was 
more to be pitied than denounced. She was but a victim of an institution 
which, founded on a perversion of the laws of nature sought to create a 
second nature among those who came under its baneful influence, a second 
nature which blighted the springs of human happiness in the home-life and 
which dwarfed the race and impeded their progress in physical, moral, 
social and political vigour. 

If continuity of a custom be regarded as a good adjustment for the 
society, the practice of child-marriage deserves that credit; because it allowed 
and allows still the wedded pair to be brought up together as children only 
in their parent’s house, till in time they become habituated to each others’ 

18 . “ ura % sM, 

18 a. The contrasting picture of the characteristics of tlig, etc. 

are to be met with in songs like ; — 

fng ijial ”, 

nod, on the other hand, “ ” etc. 



company and affection, while graduidly they come to know and learn their 
place in those large households to which their future lives belong. The 
Hindu married couple can live in no independent isolation like the European. 
Rather they would be but one unit of a great family household, managed on 
behalf of all by its eldest members. The real mairiage, the consummation 
of their growth to man and woman, comes much later, after many years 
perhaps, when the parents at last give their consent to the grown>up student 
and the healthy maiden, who helps daily in the household tasks. 

It is the position of the widow, however, that holds most of interest 
and tragedy. An early marriage gives a woman in her ripening maturity 
the fitting fulfilment of her motherhood. And at the worst conjunction of 
destiny, the ideal of devotion crystallized in an unbroken widowhood was in 
itself no ignoble aspiration. The unflinching veneration that a son gave to 
his widowed mother was no small recompense for her sacrifice to a sacred 
duty. Widowhood is recognised by all as a state divinely imposed, of auste- 
rity and atonement. But it has its own quiet rewards in the family home 
with its sense of duty done like a mm’s or a sister of Mercy's. Widowhood 
is harsh in those castes, which have merely adopted it as a custom and when 
the inspiring ideal is not felt living in their hearts, deep and intense. In all 
the higher castes and in the lower castes, as they assumed or usurped a 
higher position, widows were forbidden a further marriage. 

Normally the idea of marriage in the classes in which Brahmana 
influence is most firm is accompanied by a certain ascetic thought which holds 
sensuousness and enjoyment to be something debasing and earth-bound. 
In all household and family matters, a widow as such, enjoys a far greater 
authority than a married woman. She directs the whole house as she has 
more leisure for such duties, and in almost all matters relating to family or 
caste-customs, she, especially if grown up, is always looked to as a final 
authority. Of course, her position as a widow excludes her from the 
performance of such religious ceremonies as require the presence of women 
on auspicious occasions. 

The Hindu widow performed the functions of a European nun, as 
well as of a married lady. She was really a ‘Tyaga-MurtV, renunciation 
personified, to use the phrase of Mahatma Gandhi. She watches over the 
formation of moral and religious development of the rising generation, over 
the cleanliness of the house, over the orderly arrangement of the furniture, 
etc., and over the physical improvement of the members of the family among 
whom her lot is cast. A person so useful and exercising such influence and 
suffering from misfortune, which no human ingenuity can avert, was natur- 
ally looked upon as a guiding angel, a most deserving object of sympathy, 
rather than an object of oppression. 



The evil of enforced widowhood existed in Gujarat in a very MnaH 
degree among the agricultural classes who form the main bulk of the total 
population. How second marriage was sanctioned by the society for these 
cultivators, on whose numerical strength the existence of others depended, is 
already alluded to, as it obtains in Samal Bhatfs stories," who looked 
upon the remarriage among the Kapabis as a divine dispensation.^ It was in 
the urban communities — the Brahmins, the Banias and the kindred 
— that widowhood was enforced as an institution. But even among them the 
number of cases, of females that were condemned, by custom, prejudice, 
social tyranny and the like, to lifelong misery, and whose age might excite 
compassion, was very small. 

To talk of remarriage to a high class widow was to give her the 
greatest insult, because to her to become a widow was a misfortune. There 
was no balm to a soul so wounded, except the one obtained by entering into 
a higher kind of life, abnegating oneself on the altar of duty, and sacrificing 
self to a higher self in a manner recognised by the highest religious sanction, 
as well as by the sanction of the society; and by training the mind and body 
so to live in this world as to qualify one’s self for a higher. This was the 
adopted doctrine and practice of the Hindu gastras which the highest minds 
had adopted and still pursue more or less successfully. Human nature is 
marvellously plastic, and a state of life which many Hindu women of Gujarat 
deliberately adopted and which extrinsic circumstances imposed on a 
multitude of others in all civilized lands, could not be without compensating 
consolations. In those cases, where widowhood was sweetened by domestic 
affections, sustained by religious devotion, or fortified by intellectual passion, 
we have no hesitation in stating that the lives of those who from choice 
or necessity adopted it, were neither unprofitable nor unhappy. 

But then the unfortunate miserable widows excite our compassion on 
account of the unnatural and inhuman caste-rules which permit a widower 
to take a second wife freely but prevent the widow under all circumstances. 
This is not all. The social atrocities that she was subjected to, cannot be so 
defended. The tonsure of widows is apparently a custom later than the 
times of Bana who speaks . of the peculiar “Venl”, i. e. braid of hair of 
widows, in the Harsa-Carita as etc. Widows had, 

however, a distinctive colour of their clothes fixed by the fifth century A. D. 
to be white; while women wore coloured clothes and clothes with borders 
probably. All her ornaments and jewels were taken from her and she was 

19. See, “BhSbharam Varta”, introduced in SihityaHra Carnal (1949) by this 



expected to live henceforth a life of self-denial and asceticism. The widows’ 
life shows, in a concrete form, the underlying idea regarding a woman’s u$e 
to the world; she is there to satisfy and become complement to a man and 
she could not marry again; therefore, why should she be beautiful?, why 
dress well?, why indeed live at all? A modem Indian poetess, SarojinI 
Naidu has a pathetic lament on this subject in The Dirge : 

“What longer need hath she of loveliness 
Whom death hath parted from her lord’s caress? 

Shatter her shining bracelets, break the string 
Threading the mystic marriage beads that cling. 

Loth to desert a sobbing throat so sweet. 

Divest her of her azure veils and cloud 
Her living beauty in a living shroud.” 

The suicide of widows on their husbands’ death may be explicable on the 
ground of poignant grief, or in hopes of joining the departed in a future 
life. Overwhelmed with grief she does not want to live. The hard asceti- 
cism and lonely misery of widowhood make the outlook all the darker. On 
the other hand, she has only to endure the pyre and she will immediately 
have a rapturous re-union with her lord in heaven. The dire fate of a widow 
depends on the Brahmanic soul-doctrine. Under that ritual, the widow on 
the death of her husband has herself passed out of life, all her prayers 
and all her tears can no longer bring aught to her soul, but the bitter memory 
that she can no longer be of service to one she loved. She is brushed aside, 
and the care of the future progress of the deceased’s soul is left to her infant 
son or to the nearest male relative. 

The practice of ‘SatV or widow-burning, from Sati, the wife of Siva, who 
burnt herself at the sacrifice at her father Daksa’s place, needs some consi- 
deration. But its exact origin is unknown. There is no mention of it either 
in the Vedas or Manu; but in the Mahdbhdrata is given the story of Madri 
wife of Pandu, who became a Sati (faithful or devoted wife) . “The custom 
ma y have been borrowed from the Scythians by whom it was practised 
according to Herodotus, who described a similar practice among the 
Thracians. It seems to have prevailed in India as early as Alexander’s invasion 
(about 325 B. C.) from the accounts of Strabo, who speaks of a tribe in the 
Punjab which made a law that wives should be burned with their husbands. 
The underlying reason was probably a nobler one, and might have arisen 
through the idea that the husband needs the wife even after death and there- 
fore she follows him into the unknown, in order to continue her devotion to 
him; and imbued with the idea that she lived only for him, the widow would 


feel her life was ended with that of her husband.”” 

The prevalence of the practice of *SatI’ was a living institution when 
A1 Berun! visited India. It may have continued till many efforts were made 
under the Mahomedan rule to prohibit the custom of widow-burning. No 
woman was allowed to sacrifice herself without permission from the ruler 
of the Province where the widow resided; and unless the widow insisted 
on receiving permission, it was always refused.” The practice was common 
among the Rajaputs. The names of Ranaka Devi and Nagamatl are 
prominent among them. 

But this custom was prevalent among the higher classes only, where 
re-marriage of widows was religiously prohibited. Among the group con- 
sisting of the lower but thoroughly Hinduized working castes, widow- 
remarriage was, however, tolerated and commonly practised, though 
somewhat looked down upon in popular regard. Hence the second union 
is generally divested of the supernatural sanction in marriage and it becomes 
almost a free contract. When the parties to the association are working men 
and women, miserably poor for the most part, illiterate and unprogressive, 
it follows naturally that the action of this ‘Natra Marriage’ is conditioned 
mainly by economics. It was impossible to expect them to live up to the 
high ideals of the marriage. Toil and labour, in field or factory or shop, is 
the part of both; and the woman’s household work and the assistance of the 
growing children were^ incentive to and conditions of this second marriage. 
They had no leisure for the finer sensibilities, and like the poor in all 
countries, had an eye ever open to the needs of food and nutrition. Without 
much education and with little capacity for refined emotion, it was not un- 
natural if there was sometimes disimion, and . if they seldom attained the 
heights of an ideal marriage. Samal Bhatt’s stories are of special interest 
for the reason that they abound in some of the realistic pictures of the lower 

One had to bend down his head in shame if he ever thought of marry- 
ing a widow which was only tolerated among the lower classes. The biting 
retort of the queen to Rtuparpa, in Nal&khyana, when he was to start for the 
second pseudo-Stooyamuoro of DamayantI, was pointedly aimed at remind- 
ing him of his high Ksatriya caste.” 

20. Woman in World Historj/, by E. White, p. 102. 

21. Cf. Samal Bhatt’s Panea Daif^ 11. 470-471, 

22. Cf. Preminand's Nalakhydna : ! 

qiit swg, sn fhr ^1’* 

fki sdciiLt fAdrrdt : siiABitiAOi ANd rAiiftV : 


Among Pirsls also the second marriage of a widow, whetlier she mar* 
ties a bachelor or a widower, is called Cakarzan marriage or Natra, as dis- 
tinguished from the first marriage called Shahazan or royal marriage. “A 
Pars! widow’s marriage differs from a maiden’s marriage in the following 
particulars : the ceremony is performed once, not twice, and at midnight 
instead of in the evening. During the ceremony, the bride should be helped 
by a remarried widow and not by a virgin or an unwidowed woman. This 
and other divergencies are noted to distinguish the remarriage from the first 

The practice of Hindu marriage in its practical aspect unhappily 
shows faults of the most serious and terrible kind. The harshness due to the 
inviolability of Hindu marriage, is made the greater by vices, which though 
forbidden appear to have been in practice common. 

I mean the sale of daughters. Some castes, especially the Patldar caste 
in the Ahmedabad and Kaira districts and the Anavala Desai caste in Surat 
district are said to pay the bride’s price. And the bride so purchased had 
no claim over her parents to supply her with any clothing. (Cf. 

^ 9TFrr 5lt ? ”) a victim to this evil in society would naturally bewail 
her lot where she was weighed against money ! ” The sums of money which 
the parents demand and which they use, not for the daughter’s benefit but 
for their own, are so large that they are forced to accept a suitor of sufficient 
substance without regard to fitness or religious sanction. Of the higher 
classes many have revolted against such conduct which they recognise to be 
wicked and despicable. But in the lower castes it is still general. Too 
ignorant to comprehend that a human soul is an end in itself and that a 
daughter is also a free human being, the father looked on her with besotted 
eye as a mere instrument. 

Hand in hand with this evil and dependent on it was the terrible 
practice of giving young brides to elderly husbands. In no other country 

Also Govindrim ; 

“ ^ smre; sift ^ ^ ^ canto 53-27. 

and the popular couplet “ ^ ^ ^®.” 

23. Bom. Caz. IX, ii, pages 238-239. 

24. Also the references in KaU^Vart^ana : 

ajje, I ii” 

and «ntl as I an® afsll BS II ” (B. 

also, Vimola Prabeddho BW «B*I*I BfO I f«Rr ^ ifhtt II ” 



could the results be more disastrous or the girl>wife more tmhappy. 
Vallabha Bhatt, the Gujarati poet, (Samvat 1696-1796) has expressed that 
wretchedness in a beautiful ballad-song, which has had some influence in 
abating this social evil. From it the following lines are quoted, addressed 
to the Goddess Mother (qlTtlT): — 

“ Goddess mother, old is the husband, thou hast given me. 

Mother, accursed is this coming to life of mine, alas, what more 
can I say ? 

Goddess mother, a little child am I, and he a great lumbering, 
aged man. 

My youth is life, a blossom, and my husband is a shrivelled mummy. 
Mother, mine are just sixteen years and he has seen his eighty. 

Goddess mother, of a winter’s night, there is many a taste one feels. 

But doltish is old age, and my husband is deaf and dumb, 

Goddess mother, sportive am I, would like to play and I make my 
eyes twinkle. 

But, mother, he says, “I’ll beat you’’ and lifts his stick in his hand. 

Old is my husband, mother, what good can come out of age ? 

Goddess mother, on the festival all the girls are gaily dressed and 

But my husband is tired and weak and ugly, and 1 bend my head 
in shame ! 

Mother, my hair is black and his head is all white or grey. 

My youth is at its blooming, and already my life is wrecked. 

Goddess mother, why was not I strangled at birth, why was not I 
poisoned ? 

Yet, if my husband die, it is my part to be true to death. 

May, Goddess mother, with joined hands I pray at thy feet. 

When I am born again, give me a husband that is ypung and 
strong. ’’ “ 

Nothing like this ‘ Garaho ’ on an ill-matched pair is met with in the early 
period of Gujarati verse. Every line in it tells, as the miseries of a girl 
approaching womanhood married to an old man, daily growing more decre- 
pit, are so graphically described. It shows at the same time that nearly 
three centuries ago the thoughtful men of the land were alive to the evils of 

25. Translated by Otto Rothdeld in Women of India, pages 56-57: 


such marriages.*' But as long as society tolerated the acceptance of money 
by a bride’s father, so long were there parents who were tempted by gold tp 
sanction their children’s ruin. And even then, there persisted a deeper 
ret^on. For, girls were all early married and widows could not marry a 
second time. So even against his will, an elderly man was forced, if he 
wished, to have the legitimate and socially sanctioned companionship of a 
woman, to seek in marriage one of the young girls who alone were in Gujarat 
available for a suitor. As early as the writer of the Vimalaprahandha 
(Samvat 1568) this practice of marriages with old persons seems to be in 
vogue (Cf. I II” Krsnaram seeing the 

times to be out of joint, notices this abnormality : “Some have lost their 
senses as they have reached three score years, and even though learned, 
they marry again and again (at their advaned age).” 

The other unusual type of an ill-sorted marriage was of an infant 
bride-groom married to a girl, his senior in years. But this was less 
harmful than the marriage with an old man. The child did come of age 
after some waiting and the wife had not much to bewail of her lot. The 
anxiety of the girl in bloom is recorded in some beautiful folk-songs. One 
of these says, “I have passed twelve springs and he is only a child of fifteen 
months. How shall I pull on ?” Navalram has exposed this social evil of 
infant marriages in a telling manner, by apparently describing a mock 
marriage-procession of the animal world. He writes of it in his poem very 

^ mi, SIT55 ^ 
w JR 

snil 3TT, ^ il'TlIT 5R, 

Another folk-song conveys her heart’s yearning in rather an enigmatic 
way : She requests the passers-by to give one swing to the cradle wherein 
was sleeping a child. Some thought it was her son, others thought it was 
her infant brother. §he cleared their doubt by giving out the bitter truth 

26. Milestones in Gujarati Literature, by K. M. Jhaverl, page 152. 

“ tni ^ 

— ‘ ' 

27. “ TOPit gsKl : 

Ratjihidli Rdta, Part II, p. 17; 


CVVniLAh H1ST6IIY of dtJA&Af 

that it was her htisband!" It is really surprising to find an instance 
like this in a poem by Narasiihha Mehta. The wife says to her companion, 
“The husband is a child, how can I have close embraces? If 1 were to caress 
warmly, he begins to cry. Curse be to Vidhata who has brought about this 
ill-match !’”° A song, wherein the wife in her bloom is guarding her youth 
against the wayward youths in society, has a gentle touch of the fidelity 
of a Gujarati woman to her married husband, even though he was a child." 

The natural result of infant marriages and ill-sorted matches was 
an untimely motherhood, and premature deaths of husbands, resulting in 
the widowhood of the child-wives. This has been long complained of by 
writers who prefer to throw the blame of the phenomenon on the Kali age. 
Bhima (V. S. 1541) says : “A girl carries at the tender age of eight and at 
the age of sixteen she becomes a widow !”” The writer of the Vtmalapra- 
handha (V. S. 1568) brings the age of a mother to six and widowhood to 
twenty." Sura Bhatt (V. S. 1704) says, “the husband would die at sixteen 



— Ibid., p. 16. 

29. “ V : 

'>»< 5Cig SIHT >, 

g wsiirij ^ : ” 

ifiisqwf, ?. 

30. “ wO <1*^, 

Jog *iT3, ^ ” 

31. “ nit ^ 1 

^ I *r<5r3 Jipft II 

32. “0p nw I 5t®il Wl ®W II 

JTTdl Ts«tr I ” 

— < r^tiB sjiw ’ 'er^«r3w*?T. 



and mothers, eight years old, are common.”" Vallabha Bhatt (V. S. 1760) 
writes, “Even before her age a girl becomes a woman. Oh Bahucarl ! and 
often bears children.”” K^s^aram, our latest authority on his times (V. S. 
1874) says, “The age for a girl to become a mother is either ten, eleven or 
twelve.” ® Another side-light thrown by him on the conduct of widows, due 
to enforced widowhood is alarming. “A widow throws her child into well 
(to avoid shame).”” 

Akho also has to say on this social phenomena of premature motherhood. 

“to TOI^ SRijr, ^ ^ 3T^.” 
Premanand only passingly refers to it in Mameru, Cf. 

Though a woman was not allowed to marry another husband on the 
death of her first, a man, however, laboured under no such restriction. Not 
only could the widower re-marry another girl, but he could marry another 
even in the lifetime of his first wife. Because it was thought necessary 
to perpetuate the family by begetting sons, who would perform his funeral 
ceremonies when he dies, and afterwards present the periodic offerings 
to the manes and gods for the welfare of those departed. The man was 
enjoined to marry another wife in case the previous one had failed in her 
duty to give him a son.” Sometimes if a wife had no son it was impera- 
tive that she pray her husband to seek out a new wife. Because, wife- 
hood in India is thought great according to its giving, not to its receiving 
or sharing. In fact, the wife is sometimes asked to give even a share 
of her husband; since, if she is childless for seven years, he may, with 
her permission legally take another wife in order to leave a son to succeed 

33. “ ^55 3^1? I II 

^ I ^ II 

34. “ ^ ^ 51 vft 

35. af? 5r 

36. “ ikm aifs, zkm 

37. Hence the anxiety and a fervent longing to have a son are fostered by all 
Gujarati women : Cf. folk-songs like ^ 

?r 3^ ^ 




him. The sense of family obligation, exceptionally strong in India frequently 
causes the wife to agree, and even to help to choose the second wife.”^ 
But polygamy, when it existed, seems to have been confined mostly to chiefs 
and heads of tribes. In a general way, the number of wives a man had, 
depended upon his wealth, so that even in a polygamous country the poorer 
people were still likely to be monogamous. Wives were thought to be an 
investment by people of the lower classes to whom the economic value of 
labour and co-operation from the plurality of wives counted much. How- 
ever, the adjustment represented by plural marriage has tended to pass 
away with the increase of civilization from among the higher castes. 

In ill-sorted marriages only the disparity in age has been the main 
point of attack. However, Vallabhabhatt has given another type of marriage- 
partnership where the husband is handicapped owing to the disparity in the 
culture and upbreeding of his partner in life. She is untidy, irreligious, not 
zealous about the housewife’s duties; and the cultured husband complains 
to the Mother-goddess for his sad lot in home life.^ 

The wave of Mahomedan invasions of India had a deep-felt influence 
on the position of women in India. A widespread system of polygamy which 
was introduced, accompanied by the zenana system, re-acted on the 
Hindu population, so as to lead to a custom of seclusion of women, partly in 
self-defence and partly in imitation of the alien conquerors. But there are 
many reasons for believing that monogamy is a better arrangement for 
advanced people, whether the marrying parties are wealthy or not. The 
family is more closely bound together when there is but one father and one 
mother; inheritance is clearer and less complicated; there is less jealousy 
and dissensions within the family; the children get better care for both 
their bodies and their characters, the affection' between the spouses is likely 
to be stronger because it is concentrated between two persons and not 
diffused among many. The lot of a husband of two wives has been compared 
by a poet of the 15th century A. D. to a grain of corn which has been placed 
between two mill-stones, which has very little chance of remaining intact,’'^ 

37a. Women in World History ^ p- 96. ' 

38. Vide Vallabha Bhatt’s Garabo published for the first time by M. R. Majumdar 
in the Divali issue of the Gujarati Weekly lot 1934 November : 

“ntw ! HR HHR, g9t ^ : 

HR, % «fT JHfHOlt ^ ^ ? 

hKHI ! HRT HHH fa#, ^ HH HTI# ^ !” 

“ ^ TO I 

3 3ni fer ?, JR^ HFR 3RT II ” 

— srriH 3% TO ‘ vy. 

39 . 



Another popular saying about a husband of two wives ^ WW ’) 
sympathises with his poor lot, whom Providence has already punished 
sufRciently by his being in such a social fix. 

The undesirable lot of 'co-wives’ is another corollary of polygamy. 
The highest misfortune that could be imagined for a woman was the role of 
a co-wife, whose very sight was an eyesore and a heart-rending scene 
often referred to as Gujarati literature is full of touching 

references to this social evil, for which men alone are responsible. The 
stories of Rama and Dhruva have afforded good occasions to Gujarati poets 
to give vent to feelings against polygamy even in kingly families. Many 
social songs touch this common theme.® One of these popular ditties records 
what a wife would do if the co-wife were to die : “If she dies, I would give 
my Salu clothes to be dyed in floral hues, the Diyara (husband’s younger 
brother) shall have a red turban, I would adorn the floor with sand-pictures; 
and in front of the nirhba tree I would receive her brother, who would 
come fuming and fretting with rage.’’" To have a co-wife for a woman 
was explained away by taking recourse to certain beliefs in misdeeds 
of previous birth. Cf. 

^ ^ctMi 

And what was the state of a house where many wives were residing? 
Samalbhatt, in his usual style goes on recounting 

“%Ti Rtw, wr 5Ppr I rtr” — 

that it had become a house of witchcraft and the scuffle between rival wives 
hardly allowed the poor man to sleep at ease." 

The seclusion of aristocratic Hindu women in Gujarat dates from the 
time of the Mahomedan invasions; and the custom of Purdah was adopted 
partly as a means of protecting women from invaders, and partly in imitation 
of the Muslim rule and influence. It must be noticed that only the women 

40. “OTRHTSa and thelikein — RPIt. 

41. “ ^ 

^ ??fPtRr ^ tt'Hi % 

42. “5ihi ERirf 

eiR® #P|#, H R# ! ” 


of the upper classes and those who wished to copy their custom were 
secluded. Those who had pretensions to gentility often adopted the custom. 
Most of the ladies in Saura^tra, due to the prepondering presence of Rajaput 
chiefs and zamindars, as well as the Mahomedan raids in the peninsula, 
have adopted strict zenana, system." The influence is rare in Gujarat ex- 
cepting among PatidSr land-holders who have copied the system as a hall- 
mark of gentility. But the women of the working classes even among 
Mahomedans do not observe any purdah. They go about freely, uncovered, 
though sometimes they draw their sari across their face when directly 
addressed. “Carrying her brass pot and wearing her coloured sdri, she 
forms a more graceful and picturesque figure than her Western sister of the 
poorer classes.” 

The economic status of the woman of the higher classes in Gujarat is 
fairly independent; for, her marriage portion called ‘Stridhana’ is her 
own, as are gifts from kindred, ornaments and jewels. None of these 
may her husband touch. With this may be compared and contrasted 
the position of the English women before the passing of the Married 
Woman’s Property Act. The ‘Pollu’ or the wife’s share helps as a safeguard 
against the widowed state. The higher the caste, the higher is the type 
of living, and proportionately greater is the amount of this bride’s money, to 
which she can look forward in her need. The proverb about a Nagar-bride 
that ‘a potful of Rupees would secure a Nagar girl’ — is significant on this 
point." Among the classes where women gained their own livelihood there 
is scarcely an employment that is not open to them; in great numbers they 
labour in the field; they keep shops and sell vegetables, flowers, household 
articles, fuel, straw, etc., and they have the entire management of the house 
and family. The economic factor rules all customs, and causes women 
of these classes to be much over-worked. The general problem of existence 
was solved for women in India by Brahmanism which asserted that she has 
no individuality apart from her husband, and she should be in need of no 
independent property. The widow could enjoy with moderation the 
property of her deceased husband until her death. 

43. The word Zandna is of Persian origin. ‘Zan’ is the word for women, and ‘Zena- 
na’ means pertaining to women. The word Zenana, popularly used, means the 
apartments devoted exclusively for the women of the household; hence a ‘Zena- 
na woman’ meant one who lived in seclusion. 

44. The proverb ‘ fJpPtl ’ has found mention in Samalbhatt’s 

Sudaboheteri : 

“ ^ 1 # sK»it ^ ii ” 



Women are still, inspite of the Purdah, the queens of the household 
and exercise, from behind it, as great an influence as women in the West. 
The ideid of womanhood in India has been eloquently described in the 
words : "Despite the crushing weight of patriarchal authority and all its 
pitiable results, the Hindu home hides some very beautiful things. The 
faithfulness, devotion and love of the wife and mother, the humility and 
willing ministry of the broken-hearted widow, the obedience and affection 
of the sons and daughters, even when grown up, the subdued joy and shady 
retirement of the zenana, the sacramental note present always and every- 
where — these are things of real worth and beauty, exquisite as a bed of 
scented violets in an English forest glade,”® The Indian woman remains 
all her life subject to man, according to Manu; but she is commonly treated 
with honour and respect by her own family. She exemplifies the virtues 
of chastity, submission to her husband, willingness to undergo any suffering 
for him, and a sense of mystical idealism. Far from being a nonentity, a 
woman may be the strongest force in home, and rule strictly, not only her 
daughter-in-law, but her husband and sons as well. She has been for 
centuries allowed to hold property independently of her husband. The line 
“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world” is equally true of 
Gujarati homes. 

Now the picture changes. The woman appears more as a minister of 
pleasure than as a tender mother, devoting herself to the tender care of her 
offspring. Samal looks upon her as one whose business is to chase away 
care and in old ago to soften the miseries of her husband’s declining years. 
He is, however, not blind to the softening influences that woman is always 
capable of exerting; still it does not appear that Samal ever conceived of : 

"A perfect woman nobly plaimed 

To warn, to comfort and command.” 

Samal’s own opinion, however, is clear from the closing lines of some stanzas 
that “wicked women are rare”, and his abuse of the sex is merely the 
traditional male- view of women. *’ 

The Gujarati fiiother as the wife and co-partner cultivates and teaches 
love, reverence, and sacrifice. She not only conserves and protects, but she 
also educates and inspires. A writer has explained the domination of the 
woman in family due to patriarchism, which regards woman as inferior and 
as needing to be controlled. "This change in the status of woman has led to 
a change in the relations of the goddesses to the gods, and in all patriarchal 

45. Tfce Crown of Hinduism, Farquhar, p. 102. 

46. Milestone# in Qujardti Literature, pp. 100-02. , 



lands the goddesses became subordinate to the gods, were merged in them 
or wholly disappeared-’*^ 

The long list of copy-book maxims that were repeated before a newly 
married girl** who was taking leave of her parents and who was soon to be 
called upon to occupy the place of housewife, shows what a strong hold the 
social conventions had on a prospective queen of the household, who was to 
entertain no personal likes or dislikes in her new and necessary stage of 
married life. She would have hardly entered the middle stage of youth 
by this time, and she was generally a girl before she was married. But 
after marriage, she was at once promoted to womanhood — the intermediate 
stage of youth and fancy and romance had no place in the Gujarati home 
of the middle ages, except in the romances of Samal and others. 

The ideals of a Gujarati home happy with all possible blessings are 
best brought out in an old poem of an unknown author. The burden ‘'if 
you have worshipped God Murari alright” shows the religious basis of living, 
even in things purely social. “Blessed is she who has borne seven sons and 
every day receives obeisance from her daughters-in-law; and more so if she 
has also one daughter to whom she might give away her own share; and a 
buffalo be in the courtyard which might be milked in the evening (supplying 
ample milk for the household). In the morning the ladies of the house would 
start churning the curds, with the bangles rattling and the braid of hair 
waving freely. Being at case about the food arrangements, she desires the 
auspicious — to put on red ivory-bangles and a green bodice and a grand new 
silken patold. Bread prepared from local wheat-flour and Kanasara sweet- 
ened with fresh Gur from Malva, to be partaken in company of the members 
of the family — will be possible if God has been worshipped aright. In 
spring time, she would like to enjoy a dish of mango- juice and thin bread in 
company with her brother, while the mother looks after the service. She 
were the more blessed if there were house-servants to fetch water, as well 
as to clean utensils.® The wish expressed in the poem was not a pious wish, 
but was an actuality with many Gujarati homes under pbaceful environment. 

47. The Social Evolution of Religion, Cooke, page 164. 

48. Okhdharana, Canto 50, is an intitance in point. 

49. “ ^ m ^ ^ 3Tcrtk : 

q!r ^ ! 

§1^ ^ TOO ^ m : 



The pious wishes of a Carapi lady of the same import has been recorded in 
another folk-song. 

?pfr % siMt h ; 
wfr if 

^ 'If'iT 5fR: 

^ ^ if ^^f if'ii if^N: .' 

uit =^, ^ »fiif cfwSf BR : 

<?2ff ^ »rt»If^, if ^ tf<t iffR ! 

TOI % ?.gK : 

^ liSf 3Jr<tifif, if ffq ir<R ! 
sikif ^ dsif, 'ifg®t ifif »?pi : 
if^ if fsn tf’^ iKic ! 

HOT HR HR^, Hlif if: HlfHHR: : 

Hlojf ^ SR-OTif, if ffH HfG^ ! ” 

—from a MSS. in my collection. 

50. Gokuld&s Rlipura’s Qol)ection : beginning with ♦* OTdf’df "PW, ifif 

Chapter VI 


V ILLAGE is the unit of all organisation throughout the length and 
breadth of the country. The student of the old social organisation 
must turn to the village-institutions in detail. It was in the villages 
that all the Gujarati population was distributed. A village was the unit of 
population. It was the centre round which all institutions converged. It was 
the foundation of all the economic activities of the people; the proper 
area comprehended by the people as a single entity; and a suitable field for 
the exercise of their social virtues. A village was the maximum unit they 
could imagine necessary for the sufficiency of their life. The popular 
conception never went beyond a village, because the village was and is 
still almost self-sufficing and is in itself an economic unit. 

The village agriculturist grows all the food necessary for the inhabit- 
ants of the village. The smith makes the plough-shares for the cultivator 
and the few iron-utensils required for the household. He supplies these to 
the people, but does not get money in return. He is recompensed by 
mutual services from his fellow-villagers. The potter supplies him with 
pots, the weaver with the cloth, and the oilman with oil. From the 
cultivator each of these artisans receives his traditional share of grain. 
Thus almost all the economic transactions are' carried on without the use 
of money. The Bania supplies the cultivator with seeds and charges 
interest, which the cultivator pays, ungrudgingly, though he stoops under 
the heavy burden of loans. The artisans follow their hereditary occupa- 
tions. There is no competition, no stimulus for improvement, no change in 
customary villages. The industries are no doubt stereotyped, the apprentice 
only tries to imitate his master, and rarely thinks* of introducing new 
implements or new methods of manufacture. Within their self-sufficing 
confines, trade was no vulgar source of profit' but a calling, often a holy 
calling, handed down from father to son through generations, each with its 
zealously guarded crafts. 

India is the land where the village and not the city has been the centre 
of civilisation in the past; and in it, more than in any other country, the great 
intellectual, social and religious movements have originated in quiet seclu- 



sion, and nurtured by their thoughts and aspirations, at last reached to the 
cities. Thus every trace of individuality of the village, every local peculi- 
arity of life and thought are preserved. Still the history and life of India 
are locked in her villages and her places of pilgrimage; and each village is a 
volume in itself. 

To quote Dr. Tagore, “ Villages are like women. In their keeping is 
the cradle of the race. They are nearer to nature than towns and are there- 
fore in closer touch with the fountain of life. They have the atmosphere 
which possesses a natural power of healing. It is the function of the village 
like that of the woman to provide people with their elemental needs with 
food and joy, with the simple poetry of life and with those ceremonies of 
beauty which the village spontaneously provides and in which she finds 
delight."' When from its time-honoured position of the wedded partner of 
the city, the village is degraded to that of a maid-servant, i. e., when cities 
become unduly important, the result is the ugly fatness of the city and the 
physical and mental anaemia of the villages ! 

The villages remained undisturbed in the internecine wars that were 
constantly going on, and found no difficulty in transferring the allegiance 
to any new king or any new power. The important towns no doubt 
suffered in the wars waged and were frequently devastated. The old reli- 
gion of the Gujarat village had a recuperative power stronger than the 
destructive power of all the armies of Islam. The Musalman Zamindars or 
Governors and Maratha Sardars might squeeze the industrious peasantry 
but they lived apart from them and rarely interfered with their daily life. 
There was always safety in number, and for his own peace and comfort 
even the most uncompromising Musalman or Maratha put a limit to his 

The victories of the Musalman warriors which formed the theme of 
the court-poet and historian, were unnoticed in the records of the village, 
handed down in song and story from one generation to another. The village 
Brahmin still sang the praises of Rama and Krsna and of the heroes of 
Mahabharata, of Vilframaditya, of Bhoja and Salivahana; and though the 
gossip of the Sultan’s court might often circulate among the crowd of 
listeners gathered under the Banian or the Pipal tree in the market or the 
outskirts of the village-well, pond or river or in the temple, yet the devoted 
loves of Satyavanaand Savitri, of Nala and Damayanti, the trials of Dhruva, 
Prahlad and Candrahasa told and retold to- countless generations of villagers 
never lost their interest. The only world beyond the village which they 

1. Viiva-Bhirati Quarterly, Oct. 1924, “City and Village ”. 



thought of was the world of romance and fiction, populated by poets like 
Samal Bhatt. 

It must not be supposed that Islam in Gujarat appreciated all the civic 
culture which had been developed during the many previous centuries of 
Hindu rule in Gujarat. In the deeper sense, Gujarat was never conquered. 
Islam seized her political capitals but Gujarat retained what it cherished 

The typical Gujarat village had its central residential site, with an 
open space for a pond and a cattle-stand. Stretching around this nucleus lay 
the village lands, consisting of a cultivated area and grounds for grazing 
and wood-cutting. The arable fields had their several boundary-marks, and 
their little subdivisions of earth-ridges made for retaining land or irrigation 
water. An interesting detail which the Valabhi copper-plates preserve in 
this respect is that, each field had its name, called after a guardian or some 
tree or plant. The inhabitants of such a village passed their lives in the 
midst of these simple surroundings, welded together in a little community, 
with its own organisation and government, which differed in character 
in the different types of villages, its body of detailed customary rules and its 
little staff of functionaries — artisans and traders 

The harvest is the centre of interest, and to most of the peasants the 
state of the crops is no mere formal topic of conversation, but the all-absorb- 
ing question of life. In ordinary circumstances the peasant had sufficient food 
of the only kind he desired, the produce of his own fields or garden, his 
millets and lentils, his barley or rice, his much appreciated ghee made from 
the milk of cows or buffaloes, the vegetables, spices and condiments of which 
in a hot climate there is no lack, and as much tobacco, sugar, and sweetmeats 
as he can afford to buy. His wife had often her holiday attire and her silver 
ornaments; for after providing the necessities of life, there was frequently 
something left for simple luxuries and for buying jewellery, the latter a 
common form of hoarding. 

Below the peasant class there was a large class of landless folk, who 
also found support from land by working for well-to-do^:ultivators in return 
for a daily or monthly wages. They formed , a well-organised part of the 
village community, and poor and poorly remunerated as they no doubt were, 
it was the traditional duty as well as the interest of the land-holding class 
to look after them in hard times. There were also other residents of the 
village who did not actually cultivate land but yet were indirectly supported 
from it. Such were the village potter, the village blacksmith and carpenter, 
who made ploughs and other agricultural implements, the barber, the cobbler 
or leather-worker, the washerman, the watchman. All these received doles 



of fixed amounts from the grain heap at harvest time, and other dues and 

The study of the village communities divides itself into two parts : 
(1) village government and (2) village life. Each village community, 
though no longer an independent village republic, as was the case in the 
Vedic times, was a subordinate unit of a principality or State. At its 
head was the village headman who was generally a hereditary officer (or 
‘ Dhruva*, a word occurring in Gujarat). He was responsible for the collec- 
tion of revenue and defence of the community. He with other officers 
constituted a unit of administration which was self-contained and sufficient. 
Out of this self-contained and self-governing village commune were evolved 
large political units and the village became their constituent. 

The Desa or country was usually divided for administrative purposes 
into divisions which were called Bfcufcti or Mandaltt i. e. District which was 
again subdivided into smaller portions called Visaya or Ahdra, as we meet 
with in Gujarat inscriptions. The Visaya consisted of a number of villages 
or gramas. Thus the lowest administrative unit was the village, a village 
being usually described as situate in a particular Vi§aya of a particular 
Bhukti or Mandala. The ‘ Visaya ’ was named usually after the chief town of 
each while the Bhukti had a name which sometimes referred to a people. 
The Bhukti or Mandala sometimes contained about one thousand villages 
more or less and there was a District Officer called ‘Mandalcsvara* or 
‘ Rastrapati ’. The police officer of about hundred villages or rather of the 
Visaya or Taluka was called ‘Cauroddharanika’ while the Magistrate or 
dispenser of punishment was called ‘ Dandanayaka ’. 

The Visaya or Ahara was like the village, a fixed quantity, which did 
not vary with the growth or decay of kingdoms. They had fixed natural 
boundaries, and were, in fact, natural divisions of the country. Sometimes 
the word Visaya is substituted by the number of villages in it, as also the 
Bhukti or Mandala. In the plates of Dantivarma of Gujarat, the village 
granted is described as ‘ situated in the forty-two of Lata country ’. We 
have statements lilce ‘ ’ in the Barova plates of 

Karkaraja, and ‘ ’ in Kapadavanj plates of Akalavarsa 


Vinaycandra in his Kdvyasiksd (end of 13th century Saihvat) has given 
the names of eighty-four countries in India, and then in each country he has 
given the divisions with the approximate number of villages. The villages 
round about Mahi river were 2200, Surastra had nine thousand, Lafa Desa had 
twenty-one thousand, the Gurjara Desa and beyond it was comprised of seventy 



thousand villages.'' Then he enumerates smaller groups of villages, perhpas 
forming a Visaya or Taluka, known by its chief town or capital. Few of 
them which can be identified are the groups’ known as twelve of Pa tan, 
twenty-four of Matar, thirty-six of Vadu (in Padra district), twenty-four of 
Bhalej, fifty-two of Har§apura (Harsol), fifty-six of grinara (Sinor), sixty of 
Jambusara, eighty-four of Darbhavati (Dabhoi), one hundred and four of 
Petlapadra (Petlad), one hundred and ten of Khadiraluka (Kheralu), and five 
hundred of Dhavalakka(Dholka)etc. The Lekhapadd}iaii{15ih. century A,D.) 
mentions in a religious endowment 

” etc.,* where is modern ‘ Carotara a portion of central 

Gujarat which formerly formed an administrative group of 104 villages 
with Petlad as the principal town, and is modern ‘ Coras! ’, also 

a portion of Gujarat in the east of Baroda, formerly a group of 84 villges. 
The singular number used shows that both the portions, at some time, 
formed one distriet-taluka under Kaira district. The ‘ Surat Atthavisi of 
28 villages, is not too modern to be omitted; a similar group of ‘ Cumval ' — 
forty-four — in northern Gujarat is known to us through Vallabha Bhatt, 
who sang of Bahucara, the goddess situated there. 

The ‘ Visaya ’ or Taluka was not further sub-divided, though some- 
times we find further subdivisions into portions east, west, north and south 
as in modern or Mahomedan times in 'Tarajs\ Perhaps the word ‘Tappo’ 
may seem to be a popular corruption of this ‘ Taraf ’. A mention is met 
with in Sdhilya Sindhu Bhugola, a versified geography in Vraja Bhasa by 
Patel Venidas of Vaso, that ‘Petlad tappo was formed of 42 villages”. 

The headman, as already observed, was neither elected by the people 
nor appointed by the government, but was a hereditary officer. Even imder 
the Mahomedans it is known to have been hereditary, for they continued the 
old arrangement. The headman was the most important officer in the villages 
and all others are mentioned as subordinate to him in the Valabhl inscrip- 

2. “ i gw: i i 


3. I i i i 

I sftJTRsrgRr i i i 

jp# I i i ” • 

4. Gaikwd^s Oriental Series, No. XIX, page 17. 

5. The modern current word Carotar is conclusively a corruption of 

the latter part being omitted in practice. 

6. Descriptive Catalogue of MSS» in the Forhes Gujardtl Sabhd, p« 304. 



tions from Gujarat and Saura^tra of the sixth, seventh and eighth centuries, 
and of the Gujarat Ra^trakutas of the succeeding two centuries. The plates 
mention the officers according to their grades and the usual order is 
(Ra?trapati) (Visayapati), jTTRf?: (Gramakuta), (Ayuktika), 

(Niyuktika), (Adhikarika), (Mahattardm^ 

(Samanujnapati), — [the Kdvi grant]. The kings were anxious to warn 
all those officers who possibly may be in a position to disturb the enjoyment 
of the rent-free land or village; it therefore goes without saying that at least 
those officers who were concerned with the collection of taxes are all men- 
tioned here, according to their grade and importance — a fact which shows 
that the Gramakuta was the most important among the village officers; 
and PateFs responsibility for the village-revenue in Muslim times must have 
been inherited from the previous Hindu age. 

Over and above these principal duties with the village, if the well was 
in need of repairs it was the Gramakuta who used to supervise the work. If 
any co-operative concern was to be organised, it was he who took the leading 
part. If any officer from the central government came to inspect the village 
it was he who attended to his needs. A stone-inscription at the grand gate 
at Patan dated 1543 A. D. throws a flood of light on this point of Mukhi’s 
duties. It is a proclamation from Sultan Ahmadshah to the officials as well 
as non-officials in this way : "Be it known to the holders of the office of 
Kotwal as well as Mukhi, that while travelling this way (they) used to carry 
away Khatli (bedding etc ) from the houses of people, which led to crime, 
oppression, violence and acts forbidden by religion in the course of imperial 
work; and that traders, officials, persons encamping, the retired officers, 
merchants, and the Mahajan should abstain from doing such forbidden deeds, 
and that if henceforth any ofthe officers whether Musalman or infidel is sent 
for such things without permission, the Musalman officer shall have abjured 
the oath of God and the infidel shall have abjured the oath of Saraswati 
(river) or the idol they may happen to worship.*^’ 

The headman enjoyed inalienable rent-free lands as his remuneration, 
which system under 4he Hindu kings was continued by the Mahomedan 
rulers known as the ‘Vatan’ system. The influence of the headman then 
gradually dwindled under the British rule. “In the first place he has been 
deprived of many of his powers and privileges. He can no longer collect his 
former dues, he can no longer act as a village judge, he can no longer pose 
as the village protector.”* 

7. Bhdvnagar Inscriptions, p. 33. 

8. Altekar, Village Communities in Western India, p, 11, 



The village accountant or the ^Lekhaka* was to keep village-registers. 
But then, every village did not possess an accountant. The second important 
feature of the village was the ‘ Grama Sahha * or the village council, i. e. not 
the village Paficayat or Judicial court but a select body of villagers which used 
to superintend all kinds of village affairs — ^village banking, village charities, 
village public works, village disputes, temple management and so on. In the 
earliest times as the Aryan colonization of Western India was going on at 
full speed, the village communities presumably did not possess the council 
of a more defined or representative character. They were then engaged 
in the difficult and dangerous tasks of occupying forest lands and subjugat- 
ing the aborigines. They were, therefore, more in need of daring leadership 
than of popular or elected councils. 

Under the Mauryan supremacy of Gujarat, the council had a nebu- 
lous form, and daring villagers were encouraged by the bureaucracy in 
managing many of their local affairs. Thus exemption from taxation offered 
by way of reward to those who would undertake works of public utility 
like the construction of tank or the digging of an embankment, clearly shows 
that these things were often managed by a non-official agency.” The arrange- 
ment of public fairs, festivals and shows, the management of temple property 
and the property of minors, occasional undertakings of public works and 
other matters which were left to the villagers, were all managed by them 
under the general guidance and supervision of the village elders — 

From Valabhi and Gurjara plates of Gujarat and Saurastra, it distinct- 
ly appears that some kind of village council was evolved during the Hindu 
period. Grants of these monarchs exhaustively enumerate all persons and 
officers who were likely to interfere with the grantee’s enjoyment of the 
lands granted. The words (Adhika-mahattar)^ (Mahat- 

taradhikarika) and ( Adhikarika-mahattara^ probably refer to 

the elders of the village council. On the strength of these inscriptions 
during the Gurjara and Valabhi rule in Gujarat and Saurastra (A. D. 480- 
789) we can say that village communities possessed a council of elders» 
consisting of the persons selected or elected by the vill,age elders and called 
the ‘ Mahattaradhikarika The council of elders continued to exist even 
under the Gujarat Rastrakutas as known from the different inscriptions. 
These village elders who were originally natural leaders of the village 
communities, later on began to appoint for the convenient transaction of 
business, a council or committee from amongst themselves; for, the inscriptions 
expressly state that the council consisted of elders — ^Mahattara — 

9. Cf. Arthasdatra : / 



who were for the time being in power. Villagers at large had nothing to do 
with the election or selection of this committee. But the village councUs 
were appointed only when any necessity arose, when it made requisite 
arrangements for the work immediately in hand. The work over, the tempo- 
rary organisation would cease to function. Nor were standing sub-commit- 
tees appointed even in cases which required permanent management. The 
management of the temple was left to the temple Pujarl, as long as he behaved 
properly. It may be noted that in the numerous temple or monastery grants, 
extensive properties that were granted for the management of temples and 
monasteries for the repairs, etc., were conveyed directly to these temples 
and monasteries and never to any temple committee or village council, in 
trust for them. 

Such then was the typical * village-council * down to the Mahomedan 
period. The task of ascertaining the effect of Mahomedan rule on these 
village committees becomes rather complicated from the fact that the rule 
was not equally stable and permanent all over Gujarat and Saurastra. 
Gujarat under Sultan and Mughal supremacy was, however, stable, perma- 
nent and fairly well-organised; so the effects were most pronounced in the 
province. It is true that Mahomedans did not much interfere with the old 
arrangements of village communities. The paternal solicitude of the Hindu 
rulers was replaced by old indifference of the new conquerors, or as Prof. 
Jadunath Sarkar puts it, ‘‘the communities could enjoy parochial self-govern- 
ment rather than local autonomy.’’^® 

There followed as a result, despair and despondency at the loss of 
independence; and again there was a constant dread of hostilities among 
local governors, who hardly spared villages in their warfare. In such times 
of stress and difficulty, single leadership was always preferred; and many a 
memorial stone, Khdmhhi or Pdlid, spread over the province still tell their 
tale of village-rescue at the hands of leader martyrs, who staked their lives 
to save their villages. Through the oppression of Musalman governors and 
and their officers, and the greed of revenue-farmers, the villages practically 
lost all their powers.* The village council became an effective body hardly 
possessing any influence." Owing to these and similar factors the village 
council of elders disappeared from the country as a formal body. Under 
the British administration, which was until recently an exceptionally cen- 
tralised one, all the activities of the village community were guided and con- 
trolled by the directions received from the headquarters or the capital. In 

10. Mughal Adminiatrationt page 12. 

11. Ranade, Rise oj the Mardthd Power, p. 22. 



such a system of administration, the old village council, meeting irregularly 
in an informal fashion and doing the village business according to the wishes 
and convenience of the villagers, had no place. 

The foremost governmental function connected with the life of village 
community was the administration of justice and settlement of village dis- 
putes. From times immemorial down to the British period, village disputes 
used to be settled among the villagers themselves; but comparatively serious 
cases had to be sent to the Royal courts for decision. Under the Mahomedan 
rule in Gujarat, criminal offences of a serious nature were tried by 
Kazis, appointed by the Central Government, as such cases were always 
outside the jurisdiction of the village Pancayats all over India, involving as 
they did, the exercise of the highest power of the State, namely, sentences 
for mutilation and capital punishment, which can hardly be delegated under 
any system of local government to the village tribunals. 

The composition of these village tribunals were known separately as 
Pupa, Srenl, and Kula. Vijnanesvara, a Western Indian who flourished at 
Kalyan in the 11th century and the author of Mitdksard (a commentary on 
Manu Smrti), explains Puga as an assemblage of persons of different castes 
and professions but residing in the same place, known as Grdmamahatiaras, 
in the inscriptions. This was the chief village court. The guild court (^reni) 
and the family courts {Kula) were subordinate to each. There was suffici- 
ent sanction behind the Pancayat decisions, and they were generally carried 
out. The actual trial was, however, an informal affair. The opinion of the 
wiser and more influential members gradually prevailed. The usual meeting 
place of the Pancayat was the local temple; the religious awe it inspired 
among the inhabitants was very useful in ascertaining the truth. Then again, 
the formalities and oaths which a witness had to take were such as to strike 
terror in a religious mind, and quite sufficient to stifle in that godfearing age 
any tendency to tell a lie. Truth, therefore, was usually discovered; the 
cases were tried locally, most of the villagers knew the true nature of the 
dispute, and it was really very difficult to tell a lie in the face of neighbours 
and elders. People, moreover, were truthful, in those times, a fact which is 
attested to by Megasthenes, Hiuen Tsiang and Marco Polo.” 

In Gujarat, the influence of the Muslim rule on the village communi- 
ties was considerable. The judicial functions of the village communities 

12. Of Gujarati merchants he has said ; “They are the most honourable merchants 
that can be found. No consideration whatever can induce them to speak an 
untruth, even though their lives should depend on it .” — Marco Polo*$ Travels 
(Wright’s edition), page 401. 



was considerably affected owing to the establishment of regular courts and 
known recognition by the State of the village Pahcayats. Under the Muslim 
rule, in every town there was a ‘KazI’ to try the cases of Mahomedans and 
a ‘Sadr’ for those of the non-Mahomedans. Appeals against their decisions 
were entertained by the Kazi and Sadr at the Suba; as a last recourse 
Ahmedabad decisions were subject to an appeal to the KazI-u-Kuzzat and 
Sadr-u>Sadur at Delhi.” 

Thus in Mahomedan Gujarat, Hindu tradition could not influence 
government ideals; and this fact told upon the efficiency of the village courts. 
Nor did things improve with the fall of the Muslim power; for the Marathas 
who became the next rulers of the province did not find the requisite leisure 
and opportunity to establish stable administration. Of course, Pancayat 
system was revised, but did not become such an efficient instrument as in the 
Deccan under them. The Kamavisdar or Taluka Officer who used to grant 
the Pancayat, demanded 25% as its commission and the successful party be- 
ing better able to pay the sum, was held responsible for its payment. This 
was not the best atmosphere for the successful working of the system. As a 
natural result we find that at the advent of the British rule the Pancayats 
in Gujarat were not so strong and powerful as those in the Deccan.” 

Protection of person and property from external attacks was the next 
indispensable function of the village communities. While colonising new 
tracts of territory, endeavour had to be made to make the villages able to 
defend themselves, if necessary, with mutual help. It was, therefore, but 
natural that every village unit should be so organised as to be able to 
defend itself. On occasions of public danger, the brave villagers would unite 
together and offer a stubborn resistance to the freebooters, and those who 
laid down their lives in such skirmishes were immortalized by the villagers 
by the erection of suitable memorials. *1116 Gujarati words ‘ ’ 

(‘were best utilized’) foimd on these Pdlids are sufficiently significant. 

Police-stations were, however, established for every two, three or five 
villages, during the Valabhi and Rastrakuta rule in Gujarat. The expression 
(‘“ot to the troops for camping’) mentioned in village- 
grants meant that the villages granted away were not to be entered into by 
regular or irregular troops, for the maintenance of which the villagers had to 
pay. Hiuen Tsang observes about most of the towns in Gujarat and 
Saura§tra that they were walled and fortified, and thus might have been 
probably the case also of the cont<mporary villages. Village walls, however, 

13. Bom. Gaz. I, page 213. 

14. Ranade, Ri»e of the Maratha Power, p. 22. 




became a common feature during the Muslim period and no wonder; for 
in the matter of maintaining order, the Mughal governor was the weakest 
and the least capable of improvement with time. He no doubt undertook 
to defend the community from foreign invasion and internal revolt, and to 
protect life and property in the cities by its own agents; but the policing of 
the vast local areas was left to the localities themselves.'* The regular 
gradation of officers, the mention of police and detective authorities and of 
taxation agencies as known from the Valabhi and Ra^trakuta inscriptions'*, 
make it quite clear that the administration of these was strong, stable and 
well organised; there was no internal warfare going on and the external 
feuds between the contemporary dynasties were not very frequent. 

So we may well conclude that throughout the Hindu period the 
village communities were not much affected by the changes of dynasties that 
then took place. At the advent of Mahomedan rule, a change took place and 
took place for the worse. The Mahomedan warfare was conducted on prin- 
ciples that were almost savage; and the Marathi opponents in Gujarat were 
not slow to pay the invaders back in their own coin. As a result, the life 
of the village communities was seriously affected. The headman was in 
charge of the police arrangements but the actual duty of watch and ward 
was entrusted to a watchnian, a person usually of low extraction. If a theft 
or robbery was committed, he had either to detect the culprit or to trace his 
footsteps to a neighbouring village. Otherwise he was compelled to make up 
the loss caused by the theft. His liability was, of course, limited by his means 
and it was based on a shrewd suspicion that he himself might be the thief 
or in league with him. This arrangement was in vogue in Saurastra also." 

In the Mahomedan period, as observed above, the help from the cen- 
tral government by way of the appointment of the regular police officers 
began to become irregular. We have already shown how the Muslim admi- 
nistration practically used to leave the villagers to take care of themselves. 
Some kind of arrangement was made in Gujarat by the establishment of 
some police-posts in each district, their number varying according to the 
character of the people; but their arrangement did notVork well. 

Since very early times, land revenue’has been the principal source of 
revenue in India. For a long time the tax was collected in kind. Public 

15. Sarkar, Mughal Administration, p. 8. 

16. The officers were called (Cauroddharapika) and (Dapdapa- 

fiika) who were obviously, as their names clearly show, police and detective 
officers appointed to arrest and chastise robbers and desperate characters. 

17. Bom. Gaz., VIII, p. 171. 



granaries existed in every village; for central granaries officers known as 
*Ko$thadhikarr were appointed. The village granary was in charge of the 
accountant. Payment continued to be in kind under the Maitrakas and the 
Ras^akutas; their grants distinctly refer to a grain-share in kind : (cf. the 
expression ‘ I ’)• The revenue in grain continued to be the order 

of the day even under the Mahomedans for a long time. To^ar Mai, the 
Revenue Member of Akbar, was the first to introduce the cash pasrment system. 
The tax was generally collected from the individual peasant proprietor, 
which is known as the ‘Raiyatwarl system*, where there was no middle man. 
The Mahomedans introduced the farming system only at the time of com- 
mencement of the decline of their power which the Marathas thought fit to 
continue. Over and above the land-tax the villagers had to pay octroi duties, 
bazar dues, property taxes on cattle, goats, horses, etc. and a tax on flowers, 
fruits, vegetables, seeds as well. The inscriptional village-grants referred to 
some taxes different from and in addition to the land revenue. 

Apart from these taxes in kind, taxes on labour were also levied. 
The state had a right to ‘Vistt’ or forced labour upto a certain limit in every 
village, and each labourer was obliged to work for the State a certain number 
of days in the year.” This right to exact this labour-tax was sometimes 
assigned to the grantee of a village gifted away, as mentioned in plates and 
inscriptions. The village communities had thus to pay more direct taxes in 
the past than they do at present under the British rule. But they also enjoy 
the unique advantage of having a fairly large village fund at the disposal for 
meeting the common needs of the community. This village fund was col- 
lected and spent in the village itself, by its own inhabitants; and so it cannot 
be compared with the modern Local Fund which goes to the Central Treasury 
to be expended where the District Local Board may deem necessary. The 
disappearance of ‘ village fund ’ naturally lessened the charms of the village 
life for the want of its old charities and amusements. 

The first thing in a village settlement was the selection of a village site. 
Usually the land situated within the boundaries of a village was divided 
into three parts; one was set apart far habitation, one for cultivation and one 
for pasture. Contiguity to water-supply was the first and foremost point of 
consideration; hence if there was a stream or river the site was selected 

18 . The Gujarati couplet ; — 

“ 5pii y®!, ^ : 

preserves a reference to this forced labour, called ^ from Sk. filft, which went 
in turns, — from which liability, a man putting on a Bava-Topi was allowed to 
go scot-free. 



along its bank, but at a point of elevation to avoid danger of inundation in 
monsoons. Cultivation being the primary purpose of the settlement an at- 
tempt was made to see if a piece of waste land could be selected which would 
combine other advantages as well. After the site was selected, it was allot- 
ted to the colonisers. It was usual for members of each caste and profession 
to congregate at one place and thus form their own centres. Thus have 
arisen the carpenter lane, the potter lane, the smith lane, the Patidar Vago, 
etc., that we come across in villages and towns.*® The untouchables were as- 
signed a place on the outskirts of the main settlement. The usual material for 
houses was mud and wood. The use of stone for residential houses was not 
known even in capitals. Valabhipura was all built in wood and mud, hence 
the absence of any imposing ruins at modern Vala. It was only after the 
eighth century that stone came to be used for imposing and permanent 
structures like temples, palaces and hospitals. The temple of Somanath which 
was made of wood was subsequently built of stone by Bhima of Gujarat 
and Bhoja of Malwa in the 11th century A. D. * 51HIIRT ’ from the 

‘ballad on Jasama’ mentions stone-pavement and iron-gates in the tenement. 

The typical village house has continued to be a tenement of mud 
and wood even to the present day. Every village did not hold weekly bazars. 
Still it was usual for every village to set apart some open space, preferably 
at the centre, for the sale and purchase of articles. A plot was set apart for 
the cremation purposes at a considerable distance from the residential 
quarters. Roads to adjoining villages were laid and kept in repairs. 
They were neglected only during the 17th and 18th centuries owing to the 
disturbed and unsettled conditions of the times. The road going from one 
village to another is often mentioned in inscriptions, to be a boundary on one 
direction of the fields given in charity.® The average population of the village 
in ancient times was more than the modern village, which is 387. “Because 

19. It is interesting to note that the different settlements in the village or town 
were recognizable by certain well-marked peculiarities of inhabitants from 
the generality of population as are known to us from c 4 >uplets like : 

“ ^ ^ ^ I Rrg ^ ^ II 

ftnJr 3[ffgT i ^ ii 

“ ^ ^ m 1 ^ ^ ii 

In the ‘Bhavar or the indigenous Gujarati popular drama, the ‘ Tenda’s VeSa * 
contains such couplets for about a dozen of such castes. 

20. Compare, for example, W: 

4^1:, in the Kavi plates of Govind 111, daka 749 (A. D. 828), Ind. Ant., V, p. 145. 



the irresistible ecoaomic forces of modern civilization, which are depopulating 
villages and overcrowding cities, were then absent altogether. The adminis- 
tration too, was not there, as it is now, a centralised one; the villagers enjoy- 
ed large autonomy; they had not to turn down to the taluka or Bhukti 
every now and then, be it for registration, adjudication, education or medi- 
cal relief. Naturally, therefore, the gravitation of towns and cities being 
absent or negligible, the villages were in a prosperous condition, more popu- 
lous and extensive than they are now.’*” 

Most of the village communities are purely agricultural and they gene- 
rally reveal a rural system of economy chiefly based on peasant proprietor- 
ship. the Jatakas, as well as in the Maurya period, there was the system 
of individual holding based upon individual proprietorship; separate record 
was kept of the lands, cattle and taxable capacity of every householder by 
the Gopa.” ” We shall, therefore, proceed to explain, not how the Raiyat- 
wari tenure arose in the province which obtains as a general rule, but how 
non-Raiyatwari tenures have come into existence in some parts of it. “As 
each tribe of Rajaputs invaded Kathiawar and Gujarat during the llth and 
12th centuries, its chief bestowed on his relatives and followers portions of 
lands he had won. The share of each grantee was known as a ‘ Kapalagrasa * 
and passed to his children and descendants. The enterprising *grasias’ added 
more land to their share and acquired more influential position. But the 
lesser one had to remain content with the share that was originally assigned 
to him. He was, however, bound to make provisions for his younger children 
and so subdivision has gone on to a ruinous extent. The result is that in 
some estates of a single village there are more than a hundred co-sharers 
who have fallen to the level of peasants.’*® Such is the origin of the joint- 
holding tenures in Gujarat and Saurastra. The question about private 
land-ownership as against the British contention that State is the owner 
of the land has already been dealt with in the Chapter on the ‘ Political 
Factors’. One fact may be noted, however, that the ownership of lands 
occupied by the village communities was vested in the peasant-proprietors; 
hence the proverbial deep attachment to the soil exhibited all* over the 
presidency by the farmer. The village pasture, which is even now a regular 
feature of village communities, was invariably set aside for the cattle grazing, 
which to an agricultural community was an absolute necessity. Among 
the list of all-besetting sins in the ‘Kalijuga* perpetrated by a ruler, the 

21. Alatekar, Village Communities in Western India, p. 79, 

22. Arthasdstra, II, 35. 

23. Bom. Gaz., VIII, pp. 315-16. 



confiscation of pasture-lands for being brought under cultivation, figures 

The typical village in Gujarat is essentially agricultural, so the main 
occupations are agricultural and allied pursuits. While referring to the 
village of his time, Canakya uses the term (consisting mostly of 

Sudras and farmers). The usual type of village in Gujarat has been of the 
same type, and that description still holds true; for even now the immense 
majority in the village consists of non-Brahmins, and their profession is 
either agriculture or some other pursuit subsidiary to it. A farmer can hardly 
proceed with his work without the assistance of a smith or a carpenter; 
he wants the axe-bladc and the plough-share, the plough and the cart. 
The smith and the carpenter alone can supply these articles to him. Then 
apart from his agricultural needs, he has also some others in common with 
the rest of the population. There can hardly be any civilised community 
which can dispense with the services of a barber or a shoe-maker, a potter 
or a washerman. All these and similar other artisans have been existing in 
villages from times immemorial, but they exist merely to serve the needs of 
the commimity. Hence it is that they are called "servants of the com- 
munity* and their maintenance was guaranteed by the community, due to 
which they were not and even now are not accustomed to migrate from 
village to village in search of better employment. The peculiarity of the 
village occupations is that they are just what they are required to make the 
village community self-contained and self-sufficient. As already observed 
a certain grain-share was paid every year by each farmer to all the village 
artisans at the time of the annual harvest. Payment was not made in cash 
nor was his payment in kind made on each occasion the service was rendered, 
but annually at the harvest time, whether each farmer required the services 
of the village servant or not. 

If we were to seek the origin of this system we must remember that 
the Aryans who were colonising an unknown country infested by wild ani- 
mals and inhabited by hostile tribes had to endeavour to make their village- 
settlement as self-contained as possible. And this could be done only by 
ensuring the permanent existence of a village staff to serve the agricultural 
and other needs of the community by guaranteeing to it a never-failing 
source of income. We get a glimpse of village communities in Gujarat in 
the eighteenth century from Samal Bhatt’s poems, who was a keen observer 
of social life and customs obtaining in villages. The system by which the 
produce of the land was divided and distributed as government share and as 
the yearly share of the village servants is thus referred to in the Batris putaff : 
“In the month of Maha, corn is divided into two lots; one-half goes to 



the government and the remaining half is distributed among others. 
First comes the trader who has supplied him with seeds : then comes the 
Brahmin, probably the astrologer or teacher or the Pujarl. Caracas also 
appear on the scene, and the barber with the looking-glass. The carpenter 
and the tailor are then attended to, and then comes the Bha^ with his bless- 
ings.” ** As for the proportion of distribution we come to know that “ the 
smith, the shoemaker and the carpenter get l/12th, the potter, the washer- 
man and the barber l/20th; the Garasia, the village accountant, and the 
revenue-collector have also their dues.” 

In the villages it is round the well that woman’s life circles. It is 
their club which meets every day. An hour before the day, they come from 
every quarter to the one great well which supplies the township. They come 
in scores, of every caste and age, merchants’ wives and pretty noblesse, 
cultivators and labourers, old women, widows and mothers. With hurried 
prattle they talk of the night and the coming day, of the prices of the bazar 
and the scandal of a woman neighbour or the coming visit of a priest. As the 
day dawns, the women finish drawing water as best they can and turn home. 
This woman is at her best when walking in the country villages, where her 
frame is trained to a graceful poise by the constant carriage of water-pots 
balanced over her head as she steps down the dusty lanes or the sloping 
banks of the river. She walks straight, two copper-pots balancing easily on 
the head, another large pitcher lightly held against the hip, easily moving 
as they talk and smile. 

Next to the well, it is at the temple that the life of a woman centres. 
For her every thought and act is moulded from childhood to the day of death 
by the present reality of religion. Her childhood is an adoration, marriage 
a sacrament, wifehood an oblation; in motherhood she finds at once sacrifice 
and worship : while life and death alike are a quest and a resignation. At 

24 . ’IRWf ^ > upt; 

«nwr ^ twpr. 

JPR 5IW, RI5FI ^ *ira. 

3?r^ 3*r[ jqf?!, ^ piif. 

W Bf# «iA w, ‘ ” 

a. “ % gjiR, »n»i ' 

fUR, wr, « fiwR: 

»ra#3ii iim ^ ^ ” 

— 4^ 



the temple she makes her vows, for a husband’s kindness or the supreme 
gift of childbirth. And there, from the fulness of her heart, she pours out 
thanksgiving for the blessings of her state. The daily ritual in which her life 
of .service finds its symbol is the scattering of flowers upon the images of Gcd, 
the singing of His praises, and the circumambulation of His sacred shrine. 

The communal life in villages is freer on occasions of the village-feast 
generally called “Ujani”, in honour of Mata or any other deity, organised on 
a system of individual subscription per family. So also during the autumnal 
festival, all villagers contribute in their own way something to the celebra- 
tion of “Garabo " — the lighted earthen pot with holes, sacred to Amba. *010 
carpenter supplies the central wooden stand, the blacksmith makes the 
hooks, the painter paints it, the potter brings earthen pots, the kunhi 
gives cotton to make wicks out of it, and the oilman gives oil as his quota 
and the ‘ Garabo ' is lighted, round which the women of the village sing 
their devotional and socio-religious songs for all the days of the week. 
Thus it was how villages used to enjoy in the middle ages." 

The origin of the services of the village artisans is thus probably to 
be found in the isolated condition of villages when communications were 
scanty, undeveloped, and the individual village was thrown largely on its 
own resources to supply the needs of daily life. Each of the professions 
represented in a village became crystallised into a caste with its customary 
duties and monopolies. This caste often served as the trade-guild which 
protected the standard of work as well as the standard of life and comfort 
of the artisan. It laid down strict rules of industry and trade. It exercised 
to a limited extent the functions of a benefit society or an accident or in- 
surance association and gave old-age pensions. As life grew more complex 
in villages, the original occupations came to be sub-divided and specialised, 
leading to the founding of sub-castes from one original occupation. As the 
community was thus divided according to the separation of the occupation 
in every step in the ascending scale, there was a ramification of castes and 
occupations due to a higher status acquired by wealth and ability. Hence 
these sub-castes, mostly responsible to the occupational aspect of the caste 
system, have an important socio-economic significance. 

The ideal of being an aristocrat with a self-imposed poverty, secured 
for the Brahmin the resi>ect and high position which he richly deserved. 

25. The song that is generally sung for this occasion begins with— 

qnrar gtnO ^ 



But with the march of time, the Brahmin hierarchy missed its mission and 
degraded itself. The Brahmin playing the rdle of a preacher, a politician 
and a soldier dates from the early Rajaput period. Then his degradation to 
the state of a Sudra by preferring to follow the occupation of agriculture 
divested him of his remaining respect due to birth. The different restric* 
tions in food and marriage which led to the Brahmin sub-castes undermined 
their respect and importance to the society at large, and they became 
entangled in their own caste foibles and feuds, being not a bit higher than 
other Hindu castes. 

Among Brahmins those of Anandpura (later on known as Va^nagar) 
had preserved their traditions of culture and learning, as well as a taste for 
living up to high ideals. But what could be said of these Brahmins of the 
Valabhl and the Calukya period cannot be said of those of the middle period 
even upto the modern times. The Nagar ministers, the Nagar generals and 
the Nagar Pandits and poets became rare. To know of their social life we 
have to turn to the poems by Premanand, centering around the life-episodes 
of Narsiihh Mehta. The dearth of girls and the consequent high dowry 
among them became proverbial. The Nagar ladies were tender in form, 
preferring pearl ornaments, their husbands were enterprising and going 
abroad to seek fortune either in State or Army, the ladies were quite devoted 
to their husbands, occasionally writing letters and expectant of their return 
— these Brahmins were marked out from society. (Cf. ‘ quoted 

above.) They were accomplished and knew how to appreciate the best in 
life. Their usual profession made them known as Mutaaddis, i. e. the writer- 
class. Some of them knew Persian and wrote in it like Diwan Rapchodjii the 
author of Tarikh-i-Sorath. The love of fine arts, especially music, was 
prominent among them. 

There was another type of Brahmin Pandit who was always too con- 
scious of his learning, was proud of state patronage, was usually a good fighter 
in debates and thought that there was nothing more for him to know. Some 
took to medical prdfession with their crude ways of treatment and diagnosis; 
others preferred or supplemented the more lucrative vocation of a fortune- 
teller. Others were not ashamed of utilising the black magic by playing the 
role of a magician, and the superstitious people of the society were not slow 
to avail of their services. The Doctor’s profession was not restricted to the 
Brahmins alone; barbers, Bavas, Jatis, and even Kolis were the common 
quacks in the society. Caste dinners were their only occupation which 
engaged them mostly. Some pretended to expound Vedanta, themselves 
being quite innocent of it, with an eye to get com in charity. Some became 


money-lenders and even the poor were not exempt from their usury. Some 
preferred to be votaries of the left-hand path (Vdmamdrga) in order to throw 
veil over the use of wine and flesh. They took recourse to black arts and magic 
in order to earn money. They had no scruples in taking gifts or charity of 
any despicable thing. They hankered after securing yearly allowances from 
the State with very little self-respect. They had forgotten their daily reli- 
gious rights. Some lived upon the pittance which they could get by read- 
ing Puranas on open streets. Some had no objection even to be assistants 
at a Boree’s shop. Some even carried errands and some went begging from 
house to house. Some were living by fetching water or by becoming cooks. 
Some had learnt Persian and were serving the Mahomedans. Some used to 
tyrannise over their own caste-fellows on certain caste-questions.* This 
was the state to which the aristocrat-pauper was reduced when the British 
occupied Gujarat. 

The next was the group of persons whose duty was to protect the 
society against onslaughts of every sort. The State, represented by these 
Ksatriyas, as one of the groups in society, was essentially military in its 
organisation. Its specific function was to maintain peace and order, and to 
see that the different groups worked in harmony, and no confusion of 
(Unctions arose. 

The government was an executive organisation expected to carry out 
the best interests of the people. The State did not include the other institu- 
tions, trade-guilds, family-life etc., which were allowed freedom to manage 
their own affairs. It did not interfere with arts, science and religion, while 
it secured the external conditions of peace and liberty. The functions of the 
State, then, were practically limited and did not embrace the whole of social 
life. In spite of its attainments to the principle of non-violence, Hindu 
society made room for a group dedicated to the use of force. As long as 
human nature is what it is, as long as society has not reached its highest 
level, we required the use of force. So long as society has individuals who 
are hostile to all order and peace, it has to develop controls to check the 
anti-social elements. * 

These anti-social forces gather together for revolt when the structure 
of society is shaken by war or internal dissensions. But these guardians 
of the society themselves committed a breach of trust and the cus- 
todians of public property and safety became instruments of torture and 

26. The above picture of Brahmins in mediaeval society is given from Kr§ua- 
raitj’s poem of 18t8 A. D. (S, V, 1874), stanzas 10-60. 



oppression.’^ This was due to the low birth and want of good traditions in 
persons in power. (Cf . ‘ 0 • Hence justice was 

miscarried. Their only eye was on the fines to be recovered, and not 
on giving redress. Bribery anS corruption were rampant in administration. 
Every imaginable tax was levied and exacted with force. Even taxes on 
vegetables were farmed out, which were revised and enhanced almost every 
year. The company of public women and their music was their recreation. 

Even though calling themselves ‘ ’ they hardly came to 

the rescue of a Brahmin or a cow. The soldiers who formed the guard of 
the cities were at night found to be free-booters, looting whatever they could 
lay their hands upon. The ruling chiefs indulged in debauchery and their 
illegal progeny posed in the public as * royal-born ’ and heirs to the State. The 
officers had no scruples in throwing off their allegiance if it served their 
private needs. The rulers were not careful to act up to the 'Dharma' laid 
down for them and were equally indifferent as to the conduct of the ruled. 
The short lives of these rickety princes added much more to the miseries of 
the people, and claimants to heirship caused much political unrest. This is a 
grim but a true picture of the governance of Gujarat under the Mahomedan 
and the Maratha rulers. 

The typical Rajaput, claiming his descent from some illustrious ruling 
family, had not thrown off the form befitting martial blood, though the spirit 
had disppeared long ago. With many of them their very appearance, their 
gait and self-composure, supported their role. With steady, untroubled eye, 
straight nose and sensitive nostrils, fair-skin, ‘ pride in their port ’ and 
self-restraint in every gesture, they moved through the mass of common 
men as if conscious of a higher mission. He would rather starve for several 
days than go a-begging; he would not' leave off twisting his whiskers and 
moustaches; and his air of superiority he would try to maintain at all cost. 

The besetting sin of these Rajaputs was their proneness to flattery which 
usually kept them in the dark as to the actual state of things They could 
not brook to hear their weak points. Their principal recreation, which gene- 

27. Cf. Harilild by Bhima •' — 



Cf. Kr?];;iaram's poem, stanzas 61 -79; ^ 

also ^ ‘ Wr ’ 

Km ^ 



rally resulted in the ruin of themselves and their caste, was opium-taking. 
The Rajaput indulged in this luxury while seated in the company of his hangers- 
on, where sometimes a bard would recite some semi-imaginary tales of the 
prowess of his probable ancestors, the whole company of the Dayaro — ^these 
opium-eaters nodding their heads in assent or perhaps in a dose. Such 
gatherings are not rare even to-day, in parts of Gujarat and Sauras^ra. This 
weakness of the Rajaput led to the confiscation or mortgage of his property. 
He scarcely escaped from the clutches of the money-lender who went on 
advancing money at the highest interest until the ownership of the mortgage- 
property passed on to him. Sometimes the whole 'Grdsa’ had to be mort- 
gaged to raise sufficient dowry to marry a daughter in a family either equal 
to or even higher than one’s own in point of gentility and blood, just to 
preserve one’s self-respect, at a very high cost. It was thus that many of the 
Vanias of Gujarat and Saurastra became big landholders, even though they 
had no claims to nobility befitting a landlord. The system of polygamy was 
given an undue importance by them and to maintain many wives was looked 
upon as a claim to high respect; and the intrigues of the co-wives was a pro- 
minent feature of their home-life. 

The practice of Purdah or Hojal was adopted by the Rajaput as well 
as the Garasia ladies; and this system still lingers in their society even though 
the cause, viz., the oppression of the Mahomedans, has disappeared long 
since. The company of these Hojal ladies consisted of low-bred maid- 
servants who helped to poison their ears against one another and in procuring 
imposter children. Sometimes these Khavasanas gained such an upper hand 
over their mistresses that they were puppets in their hands. We get a 
fairly good idea of the part they played from /Kanakamalika’, one of the 
characters of Premanand. 

Due to the political unrest in the land they had very little time or ease 
to think of patronising literature and hence we are at a loss to estimate their 
quota in helping the poets and writers to prosper under their patronage. The 
Desai of Nandurbar — Shakardas who helped Premanand, and Rakhidas who 
patronised Samalbhatt are exceptions. The court of Jam Satrusalya 
(Chatrasal) did patronize Srikaptba, who composed Rasakaumudl in Sanskit 
in 1680 Samvat. 

In Gujarat proper, the third in order of the original four Vari>as, but 
the second in point of importance in the social fabric of the middle ages, was 
the merchant Bania. We have mentioned elsewhere how his vegetarianism 
helped him to brush aside the Rajaput from his second place in Gujarat soci- 
ety, when the latter did not give up wine and flesh, in spite of the doctrine 
of Ahimsa, since 10th century A. D. The great wealth that he earned by his 



enterprise in trade, and also his great influence at the court during the Hindu 
as well as the Mughal period raised the status of the Vaisya considerably.. 

It was since the days of Buddhism and Jainism that the Sre^^hin or the 
Nagara Seth of the town came into prominence. The honour which was due 
to the Brahmins in the Brahminic age was then transferred to the merchant 
who utilised his huge profits in financing monasteries (Viharas) and other 
works of philanthropy, from a spirit of communalism preached by those two 
religions. It was thus, how the Mahajan and the Sre$thin came to figure in 
the Jataka tales and the different Jaina Sutras and Kathas. 

The merchant who had come to be raised in social estimation was not 
affected by the rise of Neo-Brahmanism in the 8th century, as under it animal- 
sacrifices were not revived and the spirit of non-slaughter had begun to per- 
meate the life of the Hindus. The ramification of caste into sub-castes based 
on the principles of food and marriage settled his position once for all in 
Gujarat which had begun to patronise Jainism with its special stress on 
Ahiihsa since the days of the Solankl rule. The merchant, however, did 
play the role of a soldier during the Hindu rule upto 1300 A. D., but then it 
was not his special occupation. Trade, both by land and sea, with ships 
owned and manned by them, was the outstanding feature of their enterprise 
and intelligence. 

This marks the rise of the ‘ Middle Class ’ in Gujarat. It was under 
Mularaja Solankl that the scattered rays of civilization and culture were 
first concentrated and brought to a focus with a result that the representative 
culture of Gujarat was first made manifest in a distinct form. Anhilvad 
Pa^an had already become a centi'e of political control which held the dif- 
ferent forces into unison. Learning and commerce added more plumes in 
the crest of the king of Gujarat. Culture and wealth began to flow in the 
capital of Gujarat and this growing civilisation was given a healthy tone 
to the Gujarati society by the new settlements of Brahmins from the nor- 
thern centres of Aryan culture. Gujarat, as a cultural unit, first took its 
form since this peri<jd. Saivism was the religion of the State and Jainism 
also shared the royal patronage. The Jaina community with its strong con- 
victions in religious doctrines of rigid and ascetic life combined the practical 
wisdom of a merchant on the one hand, and their staimch opponents, the 
Saivite Nagars on the other hand, with their statesmanlike spirit coupled 
with learning and a taste for the beautifuMn life, when required. 

Both these sects evolved different schools of learning and the Pandits 
vied with one another in their love for knowledge, as well as their craze for 
establishing their superiority. The Rajaput class occupied an intermediate 



position between the two representatives of individual cultures* The mer- 
chant drinking at the fountain of knowledge from the learned, and prosper- 
ing under care and protection of the ruling class, was trying to exploit the 
wealth of the world in trade, confident of his patience, zeal and enterprise. 
The culture of Gujarat came to be moulded at the hands of this rising middle 

In Gujarat the middle class forms a preponderant element, and gene- 
rally it is so in a commercial country. The authority wielded by its Mahajan 
is sometimes more far-reaching than that of rulers. It has held its own 
against the onslaughts of the bigoted Mahomedans and the turbulent 
Marathas, and has benefited from their contact where it was possible with- 
out losing its individuality. The credit of the ‘Shah’, as the Bania was called, 
was much more respected than that of a Padashah, meaning thereby ‘one- 
fourth of a Shah Hence has come about that assimilation of different 
cultures — Islamic, Zoroastrian, animistic — which look like a homogeneous 

The four chief occupations which attracted the merchant class were 
shipping and trade, jewellery, banking and moneylending, and cloth-selling.*'' 
But generally a Bania had no hesitation in following any profession which 
would earn him a livelihood. As a grocer, a hawker or even an admini- 
strator he could be found in society. He was by nature timid, frugal, but 
intelligent. He was not capable of appreciating fine arts generally. 

Among the two principal sections of the merchant class, the Jaina was 
always ready to cross the sea, as it was not prohibited by the religion; the 
Vai$nava hardly undertook voyages. The temples, the Brahmins, the 
Pandits and Puranis were mostly looked after and supported by them. Thus 
it came about that, as the heroes and heroines of popular tales and romances 
as well as episodes of Jaina Puranas, the Vaisya replaced the Ksatriyas. It 
is a clear fact that commerce and voyages on sea did much to loosen the 
shackles of narrow conventions and stereotyped ways of living. Contact with 
people of different countries and cultures rubbed off the rough angularities 
and insular tendencies of the enterprising mei chant. Efts vision broadened 
and became able to assign his legitimate place* among the people of the world. 
The Gujarati merchant, wherever he went, was able to get a hearty welcome 

28. Vide Khemd Ha(jtdlid-‘no-Rdsa (1550 Saxhvat). 

29. Cf. Samalbhafs * VidyavilasinI Brhat Kdvyadohanat Part III, p. 243, where 
four sons of a merchant declare in succession their adopted vocation : that 

(0 ‘’Fist 'Rig (R) (?) ‘ «n5t 5f % , 

«!m simz# and (v) 



to his refined vision and engaging manners in his life and dealings. He had 
got a marvellous power of assimilation. It may be due to having passed 
through great politicial vicissitudes in the past, or may be due to the blood 
of the conqueror Guptas and Gurjaras running through his veins.^" 

' But there was another side of the picture. Enterprising still timid, 
ingenuous still at times frank, lenient still very exacting, he threw off moral 
scruples in his dealings. Giving less than the measure, but exacting always 
more than he was entitled to, he has been attacked and held up to ridicule 
by poets like gamal Bhat and Krsnaram. It is certain that some of them did 
play false with their creditors and customers. One outstanding evil atnong 
this opulent merchant class w'as their indulgence in the vices of gambling 
and public women. The ‘ metrical romances * of both Jaina and non-Jaina 
writers are full of this phase of their lives. 

The unskilled worker and peasants formed the proletariat. These 
castes were the actual living membeis of the social body, each central in itself 
and working alongside one another in co-operation. When a new group was 
taken into the fold of Hinduism, it was affiliated with one of the four castes. 
Many of the peoples from outside were accepted as Ksatriyas. The aboriginal 
and other non- Aryan classes went to increase the elastic group of the Sudras, 
after embracing Hinduism. 

The castes were not allowed to compete with one another. A man 
born in a particular group was trained to its manner, and he found it ex- 
tremely hard to adjust himself to a ntw way. Each man was said to have his 
own specific nature (sva-hhava) fitting him for his own specific function 
(sva-dharma) y and changes of Dharma or function were not encouraged; be- 
cause a certain change of function, when the nature is against its proper 
fulfilment, may simply destroy the individuality of the being. The four 
castes represented men of thought, men of action, men of feeling and others 
in whom none of these is highly developed. Of course, these were the 
dominant and not the exclusive characters. 

The one draviback of this institution of heredity in occupations has 
caused the loss of artistic vitality and has affected much of our industrial 
population. However, a building craftsman of the old days, though he had 

30. Cf. Prof. B. K. Thakores Pre.sidcntial address. History Section, at the 6th 
Gujarati Sahitya Parishad (1920) Ruport; p. 21 : — 



fewer political rights, less pay and less comfort too, was more happy as he 
enjoyed his work. His work was the expression of his life. The worker, 
whether a mason or a bricklayer, a blacksmith or a carpenter, was the member 
of a great co-operative guild, initiated into the secrets of his crafts at an 
impressionable age. He was dominated by the impulse to create beauty. 
But in the later times specialisation has robbed the worker of pride and 
craft. Work has now become business, and the worker wants to escape from 
it, and seeks his pleasure outside in cinema and music-halls. 

We may here refer to some changes that occurred in the composition 
of our artisan class in Gujarat, as distinct from what came about in their 
organisation. The religious persecution carried on by the bigoted adherents 
of Islam was mainly responsible for these changes. As a result of that per- 
secution, many people became converted to Islam, and among them many of 
the artisans also could not have escaped unscathed. If the historians be 
trusted, no forcible means were used towards the peaceful classes of the 
population who were only induced to embrace the new faith by material 
exactions in the form of poll-tax. With peaceful classes peaceful means were 
tried; the case was different with those who had taken up arms, he had either 
to die or to become a Mahomedan. It is said that according to the command- 
ments of the Prophet no forcible means were lawful; only a poll-lax was to 
be levied from those who abided by their old faith. However, the fact stands 
that there were many Mahomedan weavers and printers in Gujarat in the 
17th and 18th centuries, and undoubtedly they survive even to-day. All 
these could not have migrated from Arabia or Persia and whether by 
peaceful or forcible means the ancestors of many of them were converted 
from the Hindu population. Thus from the religious and social points of 
view, another artisan class came into existence. 

But it could not be said that this change introduced any adverse effect 
from the economic point of view. Although converted to Islam the people 
could not unlearn their traditions and, of course, the principle of heredity 
was preserved in tact. Consequently the skill and trade secrets of every 
family descended in unbroken continuity from generfirtion to generation. 
The artisan class who took to weaving had somehow come to be grouped 
among the untouchables, which tendency prevails even to-day; it cannot be 
that the profession was low or despicable, as we find it raised in popular esti- 
mation by Lord Buddha. The only plausible explanation, therefore, of the 
introduction of these new factors among the artisan class of weavers, is that 
some of the low tribes who were always kept out of the pale of the Hindu 
society on account of the filthy occupations they followed, adopted weaving 
as their profession; and retained their low status owing to the growing 



rigidity of social environments, who in earlier times would have been easily 
accepted as Sadras. 

While the professional weaver and other artisans were being subject- 
ed to these changes, the occupations of ginning, bowing and spinning of cotton 
remained entirely a home-industry virtually in full possession of the females 
in almost every family. It was an indispensable part of national economy, 
owing to special social circumstances of the Hindu community. These were 
the only occupations which could profitably occupy the leisure time of one- 
half of the population by these means; the females could, not only supply 
the clothing needs of the family or earn honourable livelihood if necessary, 
but could also supjdement the scanty income of the male members. From 
the earliest times it was considered a duty as sacred as cooking food for the 
family; and with traditional tenacity the Hindu women stuck to this ta^, 
until their efforts were rendered useless by machine-spun yam. 

More than seventy per cent, of the population of Gujarat depend upon 
agriculture for their livelihood directly or indirectly. That occupation kept 
the people busy only six out of the twelve months of the year and they needed 
a supplementary occupation, to employ their time profitably. When cotton 
manufacture of India in general and of Gujarat in particular supplied the 
needs of the world, it brought supplementary occupation and income to the 
agricultural classes. When women did not help in the fields, they took to 
spin, and men also did the same in their leisure hours. Although this 
brought scanty income, it kept the families from starvation, and helped them 
to overcome the effects of a lean year. This occupation has been incidentally 
mentioned in literature which shows that not only women of lower or middle 
classes, but also those of higher classes in Gujarat, spun as a habit and 
produced yarn. The line occurring in. Premanand’s Okhd Havana, at the 
time when Uma receives Aniruddha, her son-in-law, with the customary 
rituals prevailing in the higher classes even to-day in Gujarat, at the cere- 
mony known as ‘Ponkhanu’ (qjgg) assigns a high place to ‘sgn;’ (traka) 
which spins cotton and helps ultimately to clothe the world. It should not 
be thrown away to stare away evil, while the bridegroom is ushered into the 
threshold of marriage-bower." There are a score of references in social songs 
and local proverbs” in Gujarati which testify that the spinning wheel 
went a long way to support high class widows who could do no other physi- 
cal labour to maintain themselves without leaving their homes. 


31. cf. «< m gjjiii ! n smflj st+g '■t. ” 

32. Cf- “ ^ wm ^ fluw. ■’ 




It was a common custom in GujarSt and Saura^fra in Hindu homes in 
the middle ages for daughters-in-law and mother-in-law to do spinning dur- 
ing the afternoon leisure hours. The daughter in-law found at times her 
task rather exacting and tedious, when at every moment she wished to be 
with her mother. Due to this distraction of mind, the yarn was not coming 
out uniform and it was giving way at times, so much so, that out of a pound 
of cotton, such wastage amounted to a quarter of a ser ! She had patiently to 
put up with the displeasure of her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law, the 
latter of whom might have been present, after an evasion of duty at her 
own house. Naturally the daughter-in-law remembers her kind mother.** 

The first brought to light by Mahatma Gandhi, in the 

columns of Navajivana (25th May 1924) by one Ratanbai of Kaira, composed 
in Saihvat 1635, is the most convincing of our authorities about the existence 
of this home-industry of spinning mostly done by ladies of the Gujarati 
homes. Not only to the widows but even to married women unprovided for, 
the spinning wheel was a source of livelihood. The autobiography of 
Ratanbai is really telling. Her husband had gone abroad, to earn. After 
twelve long years, he thought of returning home having earned a potful and 
a half of rupees. But through mishap, his earnings slipped into a river while 
crossing. Poor as he was, he was turned out by his parents; then he and 
Ratanbai stuck to the spinning wheel religiously, and within a short time 
were able to pay up their debts and even amass a good deal. They could 
go for a pilgrimage and spend handsomely in charity, and even distribute 
presents among their caste-fellows. Such was Ratanbai’s spinning wheel, 
which yielded much more than was desired.”* 

The imaginary dialogue instituted by. Samalbhatt between King 
Ravana ^d his subjects, the majority of whom could be identified with the 
artisan class, hinges on one crucial question put to the representatives 
of the 18 Varnas, (4 chief ‘Varnas’, 9 ‘ Narus^ and 5 ‘Karus* — already ex- 
plained in the chapter on “Race and Population*’) each of whom gives his 

33. 5) dt d 

^1?: ^ qii dter: 

6rg ^ dtossr— 

34 . 



opinion on the point at issue, viz., whether to give back Sita or not ? The 
opinions which the poet has ingeniously managed to express in form of 
proverbs, as many as 60, suggestive of the life and environments of the par* 
ticular person, are very important from a sociologist’s point of view." It 
seems as if a man is not able to forget his innate self and position in society; 
and the particular occupation he follows leaves an indelible mark on the 
mentality of the person. 

Even though Gujarat is a land of villages, there were cities, rich and 
great and famous; but they were few in number for the size of the country. It 
was so because nine Indians in ten lived in villages. It is interesting to inquire 
how towns arose in some places in the province rather than in others, and 
what made some towns grow so much faster than others and become so large. 
As we have shown elsewhere, where the land was very fertile, people 
spread over it and preferred to live in villages rather than collect together 
in towns. 

Towns had arisen near strong forts, on the banks of rivers, in sacred 
places, on islands, on harbours, on trade-routes and near great military and 
administrative stations. The passage from country or village to town is 
described in general terms as the change from a condition of status to that of 
contract; the theoretical distinction being that “the former led a more indivi- 
dualistic life while the latter led a more communal life. In cities, for ex- 
ample, water-supplies, sewage systems, food-supplies, methods of transpor- 
tation and various public activities are used in common by all; while in the 
country, each household has its own well, its own garden, its own means of 
transportation.”'* Usually this individualistic character belonged pre- 
eminently to agricultural communities. This supplied one test of townhood, 
as the word “urban” could not be applied to those places where the majority 
of workers belonged to agriculture. But where the majority of workers 
were engaged in either industry, trade or transport, there the place was 
called a ‘ town ’. It was usually in this sense that the distinction was under- 
stood in GujarM. An urban area was usually known as a ‘Kasba’, where 
the occupations wer^ varied and the arts (Kasabs) obtained. 

To mention some of the towns and cities in Gujarat which owed their 
importance and even lost it, in turn, owing to the vicissitudes in the political 
history of the country, we may mention Caihpaner as the most striking. It 
is said to have been founded about the same period as Anhilvad Patan. It 
was the stronghold of Raval Jaisirhha when Mahamud Begada took it in 

35. VideBthat Kdvyadohana, Part I, pp. 519-527 (1925). 

36. Quoted in Barova Census Report, 1921, p. 66. 


1484 and made it the political capital of Gujarat. From this date up to the 
death of Bahadurshah (1536) the close connection between Malwa and 
Gujarat favoured the city’s growth, and the safety with which things could 
be stored in its hill-fort, gave it a special value in the eyes of the Gujarat 
Sultans. Until pillaged by Htunayun in 1535 — ^it remained the capital and 
headquarters of Bahadurshah. But Bahadur’s death in the next year and 
transfer of the court and the capital to Ahmedabad, prevented Caihpaner 
from regaining its former glory. Off the main lines of traffic, the loss of 
Gujarat ascendancy over Malwa took away from Caihpaner its chief claim 
to importance. Under the Mughals, though it continued to be the head of a 
district, still by the middle of the 17th century, the same Caihpaner had be- 
come a hunting groimd for wild animals ! 

Another striking instance is of a comparatively recent town namely 
Viramgam. Commanding the entrance to Saura^tra* the Mughal viceroys 
had chosen it as the headquarters of the Zalavad district; and in the dis- 
turbances of the 18th century it was a scene of several struggles. The same 
Viramgam at the beginning of the 19th century, “situated at the meeting of 
now unmolested high-roads from Rajputana, from Zalava^, from Ahmeda- 
bad and from three sea-ports of Dholera, Bhavnagar and Gogha, had be- 
come a rendezvous for droves of cattle laden with silks, clariiied butter, raw 
sugar and dyes from the warehouses of Visnagar and Radhanpur, and for 
carts bringing dry goods from Kaccha, and grain from the fertile district of 
Patan.”” The railways have further helped to maintain its importance 
even up to day. 

The dimensions of Gujarat cities were usually not very big as in the 
case with modem cities, although poetical accounts do embellish them with 
“84 markets” with a sufficiently big population. With the solitary exception of 
Aphilvad Pafan which was a big city, being the capital of Gujarat under the 
rule of the Capotkatas, Solahkis, Vaghelas and the Mahomedans, most of the 
prominent cities of Gujarat did not contain a population of more than 30,000 
to 40,000. Broach, an all-India port, was, during the time of its highest glory, 
only 20 li or 4 miles in circuit, i. e., only one square miloiin area. “The ave- 
rage flourishing and important city in ancient Gujarat was a square mile and 
a quarter in extent; its population then could hardly have, on the average, 
exceeded 25,000. If such was the case with capitals, ports, and forts, what was 
the case of towns which were district headquarters and subdivisional head- 
quarters, we can well infer. These were not the places even of petty chiefs 
who could attract to them the needy Brahmin or the aspirant poet; sometimes 

35. Bom. Gax., IV, p. 93. 



it is true that the ‘Dutaka ’ or the Governor of a district was a scion of the 
royal family; so he may have had a petty court of his own. But this must not 
have resulted in any appreciable augmentation of population. There were no 
irresistible economic forces operating at the time, as they operate now, caus- 
ing villages to be depopulated and cities overcrowded. So these towns, on the 
average, could hardly have had a population of more than 10,000.’'" More- 
over the adjudication of civil and criminal disputes used to take place locally 
in every village. Whenever a village was granted away, the donee was inva- 
riably invested with the right of receiving the proceeds of fines in civil and 
criminal cases that were adjudicated in the village. Thus the ancient villager 
had not to run up to the Taluka and Zilla head-quarter for the adjudication 
of the pettiest disputes, civil or criminal. As ancient Gujarat villages were 
independent, self-contained units, economically as well as administratively, 
they had adversely affected the development of Zilla head-quarters into cities 
of considerable dimensions. 

Secular public buildings were not many in ancient towns and cities. 
Administration being largely decentralised, only a public hall existed for the 
transaction of public business, for the preservation of public records and 
other important purposes. Religious public buildings, i. e., temples, Viharas 
and Dharmasalas, abounded in cities; and their charity was usually directed 
to the erection, reparation, enlargement or endowment of temples and 
Viharas. If after the Mahomedan rule of more than three hundred years, 
Vadnagar could possess in 1609 A. D. more than 300 temples, as noted by 
Abul Fazal, we may well conclude that the average Gujarat town of our 
period possessed far more temples than the average modem town. 

About water-supply, where citizens were unable to get the necessary 
amount from wells, large tanks were usually constructed for that purpose. In 
capital cities tanks were many, and some of them were set apart as public 
baths. It appears that gardens and orchards were an important feature 
of ancient Gujarat towns and cities. In fact, the presence of numerous 
temples and pious devotees as well as the luxurious Mahomedan governors of 
Gujarat inevitably eatailed the laying out of numerous gardens. These gardens, 
though originally intended for the purpose of divine worship, had also inci- 
dentally served the purpose of human recreation. 

Gujarat cities were wealthy; for, besides the natural wealth of the 
province there was the commercial talent of its inhabitants to help the accu- 
mulation of wealth. Most of the flourishing cities were noted for their trade 
and commerce. Valabhipura with its one hundred millionaires, as observed 

38. Dr. Altekar, Ancient towns and cities in Gujarat and KdtMdwdr (1824), p. SI; 



by Hiuen Tseng, was a capital, where the rarest merdiandise in India was 
being stored in its mart. Prabhasa was no doubt a Tirtha, but part of its 
wealth was due to its being a steaming station for boats plying between 
Africa and China, Broach and Mesopotamia. Kapadvanaj was only a Taluka 
place, but it had risen in importance because it was on the trade-route 
between Broach and Central India. The rise of Dholka, Cambay, Ghogha, 
Mangrol and Godhra was primarily due to commerce. 

Merchants were, then, an important class in Gujarat towns and cities. 
Many of them were merchant-princes. Many of the merchant-ministers were 
sarrafs and bankers : Udayana, Teja^pala and Vastupala, from the early 
period, and Shantidas Zaveri of the Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb period in 
Ahmedabad. The bankers of the Peshwas and the Gaikwad, Haribhakti 
Vallabha, Sundar and Tapidas Kasidas were famous bankers and had opened 
several branches of their business at the various cities of Gujarat and even 
India. These merchants, if rich, were also liberal : and many of the city- 
improvements and temple-repairs were possible only through their liberality. 
The local administration of these towns and cities was generally entrusted to 
committees mostly of non-officials, looking after water-supply, repairs of 
public temples and buildings, drainage and road-repairs and other municipal 
functions. Person and property was safe, as even Mahomedan traders admit 
that they could apprehend no danger in Gujarat cities though they were in 
a minority. Divided into various sects and creeds though the Gujaratis 
were, still the citizens lived amicably. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, 
Mahomedanism and Zorostrianism existed side by side, each contributing 
a valuable share in the formation of the culture of Gujarat. 

We have already dealt with the village community proper, which 
consisted exclusively of husbandmen. All other residents from the shop- 
keeper to the sweeper, were strangers within the gates, not regarded even by 
themselves as having any inherent right to a voice in the management of 
communal affairs. This was especially true of the artisan. He was distinctly 
known as the settlor, ‘ Vasvaya ’ (it may also mean craftsman, from the 

craft) — the man who has 'come to stay’ in the place, for the convenience of 
the original inhabitants. He was not bound down to the place of his resid- 
ence by a special contract with the natives of -a village; he could go, if he 
so desired, to some central place with more local facility for the exercise of 
his craft. As in every village there was among the cultivators a Council 
presided over by its elders and regulating the communal concerns, so in 
every town, not only among the merchants but even among the goldsmiths, 
the carpenters, the metal-workers, the masons, the dyers, the potters, the oil- 
pressers, and almost all other craftsmen there was a ‘guild’, a ‘Mahajan’, 


prescribing trade*rules and meeting trade-disputes under the goiidance of its 

The growth of these associations was made all the easier if all persons 
following the same pursuit belonged to the same caste. Even without this 
bond, the faculty for combinations, so strong in the people, enabled them 
to unite without difficulty for the promotion of their real or supposed inter- 
ests. The primary object of the guild or assembly called the 'Caste- 
Pahcayat ’ was to regulate matters relating to the calling of its members, 
but as all these were generally of one caste, the Pahcayat gradually assumed 
the power of regulating caste-matters also. The headman of the Vanias and 
other influential castes were called ‘ Seths ’, and those of the poorer or less 
influential ones were called 'Patels’. Although theoretically all the 
members of the caste had a right to take part in the deliberations of the 
caste Pancayat, along with the headman and the leaders, it was only a few 
whose personal qualities had forced them to the front that did so. Caste 
authority virtually rested with this Inner Cabinet. A ‘ Mahajan * was, with 
respect to matters of trade, what a ' caste-Paficayat ’ was with respect to 
matters of caste. 

In all the guilds, however, caste occupies an important place. The 
craft and trades of each city in Gujarat, during the period under inquiry, 
had a guild of their own presided over by a ‘ Sresthin *. The guild had its own 
rules, its own bank to advance money to its members, to receive deposits from 
them, and to administer guild-charities. The Mandsor inscription (473 A.D.) 
describes the constitution and functions of a typical Lay-guild of silk- 
weavers of the 5th century who had migrated from Lata. What was true 
of the fifth was also true of the later centuries, as even under Mahomedan 
and Maratha rule, the internal government either of Pancayats or Mahajans 
was allowed to work in their own way. 

The guilds were most influential organisations in the social fabric; 
and we learn from Prahandhacintdmani that during the excavation of the 
Sahasralinga tank at Patan, Siddharaja was engaged in a long war with 
Malwa, so the work was entrusted to a committee of craftsmen and ministers 
who could finish the great work only by the timely gift of 300,000 by a 
merchant-prince. This reference indicates the status and position occupied 
by these social organisations in the city. The merchants were so philan- 
thropic that they spent money in charity even beyond their town-limits. 
During the 13th century Vatapadrapura (moden Baroda), according to 
Merutunga, seems to have been a centre of trade, and some merchants from 
it are known to have defrayed the expenses of a temple of the Sun at Pa^an 
during the reign of Kumarapala (‘ I ’). 



Dharma, and later on the SwSminSriya^a sect from Pu^fi Sariipradiya. The 
history of the evolution of religions has shown that, however great the 
founder of a new religion, he must bring it into harmony, in some degree, 
with his environing world, or it will not live. All the higher religions show 
this necessity, and indicate that no person can disregard the social processes 
at work in human society. 

Every new religion, every fresh development of religion, must pass 
out of the personal stage, and become socialised, before it can meet with a 
success that is enduring and effective. It must lit into the old religious ideals 
to a degree which insures that it will be accepted widely. Then it is neces- 
sary that it shall appeal to youth, to women, and to the great democratic 
mass of the people. The ready acceptance of Bhakti creed or the path of 
devotion, as mentioned in the Bhagawad Gita was due to the fact that it had 
thrown open the doors of final beatitude, through Bhakti, to women as well 
as to the Sudras. Hence a simple and uniform code of religion was devised 
to suit the illiterate, without any distinction of sex or caste. 

In Gujarat, men of mercantile propensities, men of the crafts and the 
women-folk constituted the earliest fellowship, gathering around Vaisnavism 
of Sri Vallabha Acarya preached by his son Vitthalanatha, early in the 16th 
Century. So it has also been in the history of religion in other provinces of 
India. The Varkari Sampradaya of Maratha Saints in the Deccan, which 
included many who were non-Brahmins, and generally Sudras of both sexes; 
the followers of Caitanya in Bengal, the devotees of Tulasidas* Rama-Cult, 
promulgated two centuries ago by RamananHa, the first popular religious 
preacher in the second millenium of the Chri.stian era, did not hesitate to 
enlist a weaver, a Camar and even a Mahomedan among his disciples. 

What men believe in regard to God and the future life, will vary in 
large degree with reference to the forms of their social institutions. Where 
there is an autocratic chief, the God will be accepted as of the same nature 
as their ruler. Especially is this true where a people have developed a 
political form of institution admitting of kingly rule and power. Dwarakesa 
the Lord of Dwarka, as well as Ranachhodrai of Dakorr, are worshipped in 
the right royal way, as the highest spiritual King and Godhead, whose grace 
devotees seek to secure. It is the ‘ RajasI Klaryada or Temporal worship, 
different from the one followed in the Puisti temples of Balakf^^a. The 
former cherishes the traditions of the kingdom of Yadavas in old Dwarki, 
where Kri^^a was the consecrated leader and the uncrowned king of the 
Yadavas : — the Kf^na, not of Gokula and V^ndavana days, a mischievous 
child playing his pranks with his companion Gopas (cowherds) and milk- 
maids, but Krisna of the Mahabharata war to whom had approached both 



Ar|una and Duryodhana, each requesting him to side with him, with his 
sinews of war. The name ‘Ranachhoda" a corruption of Sanskrt 
(Ra^a-sau^da) meaning ' clever in war ’ is significant of the phase in Kr^pai’s 
later life. 

The Vaisnavite revival in Gujarat preferred the romantic and the pre- 
cocious childhood of ^r! Kr^na for devotion, which highly appealed to the 
cowherds and the milkmaids who lived a guiltless life of communal love and 
fellowship, giving full scope for the expression and display of a tender home- 
life with its phases of parental and friendly love. 

The free intercourse of the lower classes with saints and religious 
teachers in the middle ages, i. e., from 1300 A. D. upto 1818, had a great influ- 
ence in raising the general religious tone of these once animistic and super- 
stitious people to the level of devout Hindus, now even more devout in the 
observance and practice of religion than the so-called higher classes, who had 
grown very lax in the observance of religious injunctions and preservation 
of birth-purity.' 

Vaisnavite preachers and saints have preached that the day of deliver- 
ance had come for women and the Sudras who were downtrodden and 
despised in the previous centuries. Now the doors of the religious life were 
thrown open to them without reference to sex, caste or high birth, through 
Pauranic lore, Kirtanas, Seva and a strict code of religious purity, even 
putting the higher castes to .shame in their higher thoughts and ways of 
living. They led a life of plain-living and high-thinking which evinced a 

1. The Sanskrt text of ‘ ^iSTI'n ’ (Dahka Purapa) or ‘ ' (Pahkapura-ma- 

hatmya) appears to be written about the end of the 17th Century A.D., which 
narrates how Dwarakesa was brought to pakorc by one Vijayasiihha, alias 
Bodano, in Samvat 1212. Early reference to this episode is not traceable in lite- 
rature prior to the days of Premanand, Samal, Vallabh Bhatt. and other poets 
of the I8th Century. The spread of Babucara cult and that of Ranachhodrai 
m Gujarat appear almost contemporary. The modern temples at Pakore and 
Bahucara were buili by Peswa's Shroff Tambvekar and Manaji GaekwSd res- 
pectively, in the lafter half of the 1 8th Century. The etymology is explained 
by the episode just referred to : ^ I 

5EfRr: 11 ’ Mirabai, however, refers to Rapachhoda of Dwaraka and not of 

Pakore in the song : fC ” 

2. Cf. Narasithha Mehti’s poem ; 

‘5® Jlr»r ®i«it w.’ 

Also, Surabhatt's Kali-Mahima : 

‘ «RnfiTT.% M R5 atra?, 3^ WR.’ 



conviction of religious beliefs, unlike the hypocrisy and conventional obser^- 
vance of the higher castes. 

The Smi-ti Law administered in Gujarat from earliest times, was per- 
haps the greatest of the direct influences on social life which proceeded from 
the Brahmanic Church. It controlled the law of marriage, it affected the 
disposal of property, it vindicated to some extent the rules of morality. The 
law of the Brahmapa Sastras was the word of the Lord, an undefiled Law, 
converting the Soul; it was the voice of morality, commanding righteousness. 
In virtue of that law, Hinduism gave to the raw and untutored aboriginal 
peoples the drill of moral habituation. It imposed a definite discipline on a 
rude, primitive people. “With the Law came Sin,” — and a sense of sin and 
a struggle for deliverance. The clergy, who were in charge of the .morale of 
the society, aided the education of the laity at large — just as, through 
Pathasalas and monastic schools they provided the main substance of educa- 
tion for an individual Gujarati. 

Religion in the society of Gujarat permeates the whole of life; and 
that every sort of religion, appealing to the diverse inhabitants of Gujarat, 
is primarily social and has its origin and sanction in the life of the com- 
munity. What the group did, the individual followed without doubt or 
hesitation. The religious group acted as if one person, though its members 
retained their individuality to the fullest extent. 

II. Buddhism 

Theology begins with the worship of the things of heaven, and ends 
with the worship of the things of earth. We have, first, the worship of the 
sky-Gods; then of those that rule the atmosphere; lastly, of those that rule 
on Earth. Thus the Vedic Gods were departmental deities, each nominally 
invested with a special sphere of action; but then offices were being confound- 
ed; and the function of one deity was without hesitation attributed to another. 
“ In the Vedic Hymns,” writes Dr. Hopkins, “ man fears the Gods, and imagines 
God. In the Brahmanas, man subdues the Gods, and fears God. In the Upani- 
^ads, man ignores the Gods and becomes God.’” But the higher teaching of the 
Upanisads was known only to a few learned scholars. The masses were becom- 
ing more and more superstitious. Contact with the original inhabitants 
had led them to adopt the worship of stones, trees, and animals. The perform- 
ance of sacrifice had assumed a great prominence and a large number of ani- 
mals were slaughtered on the occasion. Hence the reformation assumed a 
two-fold shape : first, the rise of the two so-called heretical movements, which 

3. Religions of India (1895), page 216. 


culminated in Buddhism and Jainism; secondly, the almost contemporane- 
ous evolution of the sectarian gods. 

“ Knowledge is wisdom to the Brahmana; asceticism is wisdom to the 
Jainas; purity and love is the first wisdom to the Buddhist.” * What the new 
creed of Buddha brought was the message of freedom from the Brahmanic 
law of sacrifice, and it enjoined the observance of a high moral code. It was 
a rule of practical benevolence, gradually displacing the early ideal of mere 
personal salvation, and extending its blessings to all who accepted its teach- 
ings. Slowly the message spread from the K^atriya class to which it was 
first given, to the men in search of peace, whatever his race or caste may be. 

Buddhism under Asoka had become state-religion of the Mauryas, but 
it is doubtful if it really gained by its absorption into political life. The 
accession of world influence was naturally accompanied by a falling off in 
spirituality. The transformation of a local cult into a world-wide religion 
was the work of Asoka alone. Of his ‘ Edicts ’ which inserted the canons 
which were of Catholic nature and true of all religions, the one which comes 
within our province is the one at Girinagara — Junagadh, and the other found 
at Sopara, the Western outpost of Buddhism. Asoka did not rest satisfied 
only with these rock-inscriptions. He had sent missionaries, one Dharma- 
raksita, a Yavana, being sent for Aparantaka, i. e., countries on the Western 
coast. Thus was Buddhism spread in Gujarat through him in the 3rd Century 
B. C. The discovery of a brick Stupa and a Vihara in 1960, by the late Dr. 
B. Subbarao at Divani Mori near Samalaji, Sabarkantha Dist. (N. Gujarat), 
of the late K^atrapa period, with big brick-red terracotta statuary evincing 
Gandharan influence shows a continuity of Buddhism in Gujarat. It linger- 
ed in Gujarat for several centuries, but it is only after we come to 
the Maitraka period that we get authentic reference to its existence. 
Dhruvabhatta, the son-in-law of Harsa, describes himself a ‘ paramopasaka ’ 
and appears to have turned a Buddhist, perhaps for his father-in-law’s 
sake.° When Hieun Tsang visited Valabhi in the middle of the 7th Century, 
Buddhism had considerable influence at the court and it had good adherence 
in Saura^tra. The Vihara of Dudda, a woman of the royal family, was a great 
centre of learning for Buddha Bhiksus. It-sing who came after Hieun Tsang 
has observed that the two great Universities in India were those of Nalanda 
in Bihar and of Valabhi in Saura^tra. The two Bauddha Pandits Sthiramati 
and Gunamati from Valabhi University were invited and received with 
great respect in China. 

4. Religions of India ( 1895), page 306. 

5. Mediaeval Hindu India, I, page 247. 



With the fall of Valabhi kingdom and the cities, the Viharas and the 
religion gradually disappeared. The disappearance was chiefly due to its 
natural decay and from the competition of new Sects which arose under the 
influence of the reformed neo<Brahmanism. The original creed was per- 
haps too simple, and once the immediate pressure of Brahmanism was 
removed, it was not sensuous enough to satisfy to a people to whom a form 
of worship like that of Kffina was more attractive. Buddhism demanded 
from its followers a standard of morality much in advance of their stages of 
culture. It involved the discontinuance of sacrifice and of the myriad 
methods by which the Hindu tries to win the favour or avert the hostility 
of his gods. It abolished such a vague entity as Brahma, into whom 
every Hindu hopes to be 'absorbed, and it substituted Nirvana or extinction 
as the end of all things. Jainism, by its democratic constitution, retained 
a hold on the people which Buddhism failed to secure. 

III. Jainism 

Jainism was the second heretical movement which led to the establish- 
ment of the non-Brahmanical orders, organised as a protest against the exclu- 
sion of all but Brahmins from the ascetic fraternities. It was a separatist 
movement like Buddhism with the set purpose of reforming and purifying 
the social and religious order of the Indian Aryan community as a whole. 

The Jaina is more careful of animal life even than the Buddhist, and 
to him are due those curious institutions known as ‘ Pdhjarapoles ’ or animal 
hospitals in which creatures of all kinds, even vermin, are protected and fed. 
Marco Polo, who visited India in the latter part of the 13th Century, has 
noticed the customs which the orthodox Jaina communities of Gujarat main- 
tain up to the present day. “ They could not kill an animal on any account, 
not even a fly or a flea or a louse or anything in fact that has life; for they 
say, these have all souls and it would be sin to do so; for the same reason they 
ate no vegetables in a green state and spread their food only on dry leaves. " 

We may also quote A1 Idrisl, the Arab Traveller of the 11th Century, 
on the food and the kind-heartedness of the people rf>f Gujarat, typically 
Jainas : “The inhabitants of Naharwala live upon rice, peas, beans, and len- 
tils. They have a great veneration for oxeri whom they inter after death. 
When their animals are enfeebled by age and are unable to walk, they free 
them from all labour and provide them with food without exacting any 
return. ” 

Jainism is the only one of the early monastic order which has survived 
to the present day in India. It escaped the disasters which overcame 
Buddhism, partly because its severance from Brahmanism was never so 


26 ? 

complete; partly because it never adopted an active missionery policy, but 
preferred to practise its peculiar rights in a quite unobstrusive fashion* But 
the main reason is that, unlike Buddhism, it admitted to its Sahgha not only 
monks and nuns but lay-brothers and lay-sisters — Sravakas and 3ravikas. 
These lay-brothern secured a well-established rank, side by side with the 
monastic members, and thus among the Jainas there was none of the rivalry 
between monk and lay-men, which in the later stage deprived Buddhism of 
the support of the congregation at large. 

About the prevalence of Jainism in Gujarat there are three traditions 
prevalent. According to one, the text of the Jaina * Sutras ’ was first commit- 
ted to writing in V. S. 477 in a Convention of Jaina preceptors, held at Valabhi ' 
known as * Valabhi Vacana It is generally believed that Jainism spread in 
Gujarat since the Calukya period® under Siddharaja and Kumarapala. But 
it has been pointed out from references in Kuvalayamdla (Saihvat 835) 
that one Sivacandragani had gone for pilgrimage in the north and had settled 
at Bhinnamal in the 7th Century. His disciple Yaksadattagani caused 
Gurjaradesa to be adorned with Jaina temples; and the alleged help given 
by a Jaina Yati to Vanaraja Cavada in founding his kingdom at Anhilvad 
has sufficient truth in itJ 

The most important event in the history of the Jaina order is the 
Schism that related to the wearing of clothes by the ascetics which led to se- 
paration, maintained to this day, of the Svetariibara or white-clothed factions, 
who are found in the North and West of India, from the Digambara or those 
clothed with the sky, in other words, the * naked ' ascetics of the South who 
are probably older. The Digarhbaras maintained that a perfect ascetic must 
conquer all his emotions and must be perfectly indifferent to worldly thoughts 
so as to entertain no idea of nakedness in his mind; while the Svetarhbaras, 
taking a more practical view of the matter contended that the wearing of a 
white garment is permissible. Due to this difference, necessarily, nuns are 
found only among the jSvetarhbaras. The Digarhbaras explain that women 
cannot attain liberation (moksa) until a good life has brought them the 
privilege of being bom as men, so that they need not become ascetics in the 
present life. There are other minor divergencies.'* It is said that formerly 

6. Vide, D. B. Diskalkar’s paper on “An outline of the religious history of 
Gujarat”, 7th Gujarati Parishad Proceedings (1924). 

7. Vide, Vasant Silver Commemoration Volume: Muni Jinavijayajl’s Article on 
**Kuvalaya Mala**, pages 268-272. 

8* Vide “ MSS. Catalogue in Forbes’ Sabha”, Part I, page 91, where 17 points of 
difference are mentioned in a Sahskrt manuscript called 
(Digamhara*mata-khan^na ) . 


CULTURAL msToay or ou/arat 

both the sects prevailed in Gujarati But after a public discussion held at 
the court of Siddharaja, Digambaras were defeated and had to leave Gujarat 
as agreed upon. 

A minor Sect was evolved out of the Svetambaras in the 15th Century 
at Ahmedabad where Mahomedan influence was very powerful. The s* 
protestants who had become convinced of the folly of image-worship argued 
that there was no mention of idols in the earliest Jaina books. They, there- 
fore, formed a new sect called the ‘Lonka ’ or “Lumpdka mata’, which gave 
up the temples-cult altogether. A stricter body called the * Sthanakavasis ’ 
arose in the 17th century and absorbed them. Thus Gujarat has been the 
stronghold of Svetarhbaras since the 11th Century. 

In intellectual fields and matters, Jainism was never inferior to 
Buddhism; and it has a separate philosophy which is tried to be refuted in the 
Brahmaautras of Vyasa. The Jainas were posted in all the necessary Sastras, 
Logic and Grammar especially, and their proficiency in Astrology and 
Medicine always attracted the respect of the common people. It seems that 
intellectual Brahmins also joined the ranks of the Jainas as of the Buddhists, 
like Siddhasena Divakara, from time to time, owing to conviction as well 
as for honour, and contributed to the maintenance of the reputation of the 
Jainas for learning. It is specially remarkable that the Jaina ascetics being 
learned men took up the 'Desabhasa* orthePrakrts and the ApabhraihSa 
as the vehicle to propagate the religion; as a result, they succeeded in 
impressing common people of Gujarat. 

The Jainas had, both by their learning, and asceticism, secured favour 
at the courts of several kingdoms. It is a fact that a Jaina holyman frmn 
Gujarat gave Akbar prolonged instructions for years which largely 
influenced his actions; and they secured his assent to the doctrines so far 
that he was claimed to have been converted to Jainism. It was through the 
teachings of Hiravijayastiri that Akbar stopped slaughter of animals in some 
parts of India; and Santicandra who remained at his court has composed an 
eulogy of the emperor entitled ‘ Krparasakosa ’ — ‘ Treasury of the quality 
of Mercy ’—describing and praising all Aklbar’s merciful acts. When this 
ascetic desired to return to Gujarat in 1587, the emperor gave him jirmdns 
abolishing the Zaziya tax on non-Muslims and prohibiting slaughter of ani- 
mals to a large extent. The forbidden-days were extended so as to comprise 
half the year. Bhanucandra Upadhyaya who continued to reside at Court 
had taught Akbar 1000 names of the Sun, and had obtained from the 
Emperor in 1593 jirmdns abolishing the tax on pilgrims to the holy hill of 


Satrunjaya at Palitana and directing that all the sacred places should be 
made over to Hiravijayasuri.® 

The peaceful social relations between Jainas and non-Jainas have al- 
ready been referred to and the doctrine of Ahimsa and piety in religious life 
had influenced even non-Jainas. Surabhatt (whose ‘Kali-mahimd’ poem has 
been alluded to more than once) , has recounted the imdesirable things perpe- 
trated in society under the influence of Kaliyuga, things which are distinctly 
the Jaina rules of religious observance .-—‘‘People will take their meals at night 
time (instead of before the Sun sets) and will use water without straining 
it."*“ He also refers to the cultivation of indigo whose manufacture involves 
so much of destruction of insects. So also the kilns for preparing mortar 
will be allowed to be lighted. Green trees will be cut down for the supply 
of timber for building houses. All these, in a great degree, are prohibited as 
leading to the destruction of sentient beings, and irreligious wealth thus 
obtained would drag him to committing of sins. 

Generally the Jaina clergy and the nuns called ‘ Arjas’ (cf. 

^ STRSiT ’) were leading a clean life; but in the turbulent centuries 
of Mahomedan disturbances in Gujarat when the masses were steeped in 
gross ignorance of their respective duties and religious tenets, the Jaina 
Yatis, too, had been degraded, and we meet with many a dark picture in 
Samalbhatt’s stories. A folk-song severely ridicules the sham penance of a 
Jaina Yati during the Caturmasa.'* Some of these Yatis or ‘Gorjis’ as 
they were popularly called, used to indulge in black magic and treated 
women with various medicines.’" Krsnaram is rather hard on both the Yatis as 

9. Vide B/idJidttr/car Commemoration Volume^ “Jaina Teachers of Akbar” by V. A. 

‘Hiravijoi/asuri Rd«a ' by R§abhadas, Ananda Kdvya Maho' 

dadhi, Part V. 

iToft OTl fufi, I'iRT fro. 

V. qqr, 

% ^ qr jr — cf>K. 

^Kali-Mahimd by Surabhatt (Sam vat 1704). 

11. “ mK\ "^q — 

12 . ‘‘ 

iriqit Sts'.” — llamalbhatt. 




well as the Sravakas, the Jaina laymen. “Food that would relieve a man of 
his himger is served to dogs ! They pronoimce ‘ Dharmal&hha* as benedic- 
tion, but do not act upto it. They read sermons from non-Vedic texts and 
interpret the episodes of Sri iCirsna as merely human.”" But generally ‘Sila’ 
(good character and morality) was much praised, and Sermons (j<nctrR, 
SO. gsura ) for men as well as women composed by Jaina poets during the 
same period testify to the high respect that they paid for a morally pure life. 
The Jainas, though they did not worship Hindu gods, were none the less 
great worshippers of Devi — the Divine Mother in the form of Yaki^i or 

IV. Neo-Hinduism 

The Hindu thinkers, preachers and teachers, performed the task of 
welding together the heterogeneous elements so as to enable them to live in 
peace and order, by evolving a ‘ Sanatana ’ Hinduism that would survive the 
test of all ages. They reckoned also that men and women swelling in India 
belonged to different conununities, worshipped different gods, and practised 
different rites. 

Hinduism is the religion not only of the Vedas, but of the Epics and 
the Purapas gq). “The Vedas, the Sahkhya, the Yoga, the 

Pasupata, and the Vaispava creeds, each of them, is encouraged in some 
place or another. Some think that this is better or that is better owing to 
difference of taste but all men reach unto you, the Supreme, even as all rivers, 
however zigzag their courses may be, reach to Sea.” {Mahimna Stotra Verse) 
Hinduism of the 9th Century was however not the Brahmanism of the Vedic 
times; for with the beginning of the 9th Century A. D. the face of Indian 
history had completely changed and Hinduism as it exists today was then 
formed from the ancient Aryanism just after the overthrow of Buddhism. 
Aryan ‘ India ’ and * Aryan-Buddhistic India ’ had ended and Hindu India, 
as it practically is at present, came into being. 

13. “ qrro w, i 

‘ ’tzdf «W ’ YlS II 

M ffRq ‘ snap) ’ I 

5nSt h ” — fwirpq. 

14. “ 

irfiik iR«ir5t i 



It was at this time that the Pura^as were re^dited and amplified and 
were devoted to the praise of some one of the five gods (Pailc&yatana). 
Siva was a favourite deity with the rising kingly families, though the deity 
could be changed. These new Kings were devout worshippers of the P\irap> 
ic Gods now enthroned supreme, viz. the five deities of modern Hinduism: 
Siva, Vi^nu, SQrya, Dev! and Ganesa, and chiefly of the first. Thus religi* 
ously considered, modern Hindu India practically commences from about 
the beginning of the 9th century of the Christian era. Due to this rise of 
the different modes of worship, the whole country began to be covered over 
with temples and idols. 

It is believed that idol-worship received great impetus about this period, 
and in fact both Aryan and non-Aryan civilizations had joined hands in 
evolving this idolatry. Siva, Visnu, and Aditya were Aryan deities and 
Ganapati and Sakti or Bhagavati were probably non-Aryan deities," To 
these were added the worship of uncouth stones, trees and serpents and the 
idolatry became rampant not only among the Aryans but in the non-Aryans 
down to the lowest strata of society. An image was, after all, an emblem of 
a higher original; but when the sense of its being an image was lost and it 
became the God himself, the growth of pious ignorance was unavoidable. 

One of the most prominent features of this Hinduism which subsists 
today in all its strength is the strengthened belief in the ‘sacredness of the 
cow and the bull ’. “The cow has been sacred from the Vedic times; but 
Vedic ritual included the sacrifice of cows and bulls. The now strongly 
entrenched sentiment of Ahimsa, made the slaughter of cows and bulls even 
for Vedic sacrifices one of the five most heinous sins and even the maiming 
of cows came to be looked upon as sinful. Both the 6iva and Visnu wor- 
ships, which were now enthroned supreme, contributed to the strong belief 
in the sacredness of the bovine animah The bull was sacred to Siva and 
the cow to Visnu in his highest incarnation as Sri Krsna.” 

The bewildering polytheism of the masses and the uncompromising 
monotheism of the classes are, for the Hindu, the expressions of one and the 
same force at different levels. 

Throughout thS history of Hinduism, the leaders of thought and prac- 
tice have been continually busy experimenting with new forms and develop- 
ing new ideals to suit new conditions. The first impulse of progress came 
when the Vedic Aryans came into contact with the native tribes. A similar 
impulse contributed to the protestant movements of Jainism and Buddhism 

15. See Dr. B. Bhattacaryya’s “Introduction” to Sddhana Mold, Part 11 (G. O. 


16. Vaidya; History oj Mediaeval Hindu India, Vol. 11, page 2. 



when the Aryans moved out in the Gangetic valley* Contact with the highly 
civilised Dravidians led to the transformation of Vedism into a theistic reli- 
gion. The reformed movements of Ramananda, Caitanya, Kabir and Nanak 
show the stimulus of Islam. The Brahmo Samaja and the Arya Samaja are 
the outcome of the contact with Western influences. 

V. Vaisnavism 

It is difficult to trace the stages of the evolution which led to the 
sectarian worship of Siva and Visnu. But no sharp line need be drawn 
between the beliefs of the Saiva and the Vaisnava sectarians. While Siva, the 
God of destruction and reproduction, is associated with many practices, at 
once grotesque and repellent, the faith of the worshippers of Visnu is more 
human, impersonating the ‘higher evolution \ the upward tendency of the 
human spirit. It is included in its pantheon, the forms of national heroes 
who live among men and furnish an ideal of manliness, beauty, and the 
delights of love. Visnu occasionally revisits the earth in human or 
animal form by a succession of ‘A uatdrfls’ or incarnations. This theory of 
successive divine embodiments is one of the most effective doctrines of the 
later Hinduism. In it, the eclecticism and adaptability of the faith are most 
fully realised. In the animal incarnations, we may see either an indication 
of the absorption of totemistic or beast-gods of the lower races or, from the 
esoteric point of view, the pantheistic idea of the divine spirit immanent in 
all the four forms of creation. 

The foundations of the Vaisnava beliefs were laid in the Visnu Purdna 
of the 6th Century A. D. But in it is described one God, the god of the 
Brahmins, and the writer has not dreamt of t}ie message of salvation being 
extended to the lower classes. The popularisation of the creeds was the work 
of a line of reformers of whom the first w^as Ramanuja of the 12th Century. 
In the case of Vaisnaism, as with Saivism, the inspiration for reform came 
from the South, Ramanuja, in opposition to Sankara, maintained that there 
is only one Supreme Spirit; and the individual beings are separate Spirits, 
while the universe is non-Spirit. His great reform in field of religion was 
that he regarded God as having real attributes. With this pivotal change 
from the need of an impersonal to a personal god, arose the necessity of self- 
surrender and devotion to gods, as contrasted with the philosophical realisa- 
tion of the oneness of God with the soul of man and with the universe. His 
philosophy has been called ‘qualified non-dualism’ — ‘ Visistadvaita’ — and he 
declared Bhakti to be the most suitable means to achieve salvation. 

Madhva, of the 13th Century, started with the distinction between the 
Supreme Spirit and the Lesser Spirit and held the phenomenal world to be 



real and eternal. His ^Dvaita^ hypothesis repudiated the monism of Saiikara 
and the modified dualism of Ramanuja. According to him, God is personal; 
for he is not a mere lifeless abstraction; the world is real; and for the wise 
and good, Ruler is a reality. 

Madhva was the first to utilize the Bhagavata Purana, written some- 
where between 8th Century A.D. as the basis of his preachings of Bhakti. 
Bhakti in his work is surging emotion which chokes the speech, makes the 
tears flow and the hair thrill with pleasurable excitement and often leads to 
certain fainting fits and to long trances of unconsciousness. This happens 
when passionate Bhakti has been aroused which leads to self-consecration 
to Krsna and life-long devotion to his service, which speedily leads to re- 
lease. Such devotion is produced by concentrating on the images of Krsna, 
singing His praises, remembering Him in meditation, keeping company with 
His devotees, touching their bodies, serving them lovingly, hearing them tell 
the mighty deeds of Krsna, and talking with them about His glory and His 
love. The utter self-abandonment of Gopi’s love for Krsna is held out as a 
symbol of spiritual devotion. Meditation on the scenes of Krsna-lila is 
expected to produce that passionate Bhakti which is regarded as the highest 
religious experience. This leading religious idea of the Bhagavata lies at 
the foundation of the whole series of Sects which sprang from it. 

But Radha had not yet been exalted in the worship of Madhva sect, 
though it exalted Bhakti to Krsna.*’ The Visnu-swami sect, which arose 
next, exalted Radha as the chief of the Gopis and worshipped her along 
with Krsna. But it was Nirhbarka who made the worship of Radha-Krsna 
exclusive in his sect, and made Radha the eternal consort of Krsna who 
became incarnate with him in the Vrndavana scenes. Early in the 16th 
century arose the Vallabhacarya sect which largely absorbed the Visnu- 
swami sect; Vallabha was much nearer Sankara's Monism than the other 
sects. The wor.ship of Balagopala — the Child Krsna — was typified and exalted, 
glorifying the Vrndavana sports of Krsna. 

It is really worth investigating into how religious preachers from out- 
side of Gujarat cameb and received a hearing from the Gujarati Hindu.s 
and were ultimately converted to their sects. Vallabha. the founder of 

17. The name of Radha is mentioned neither in Mahdbhdrata nor the Harivamsa, It 
occurs in Vi^nu and Padvia Pwrdnas,but it is nowhere mentioned in the Bhdga- 
vata. But the cult associated with Radha is not a creation of a much later 
period. Mention of Radha can be traced in literary works as early as the 5th 
century A. D. and in the sculpture of and Radha, where behind the 

heads of both are shown two haloes. It is a clear indication that the K^^pa* 
RadhS cult must have sprung before the 5th century A.D.— Dr. D,R. Bhfii^dfirkar : 
‘'The Antiquity of the name of BadhS”, Va$ant CQmmfrnQfdiion Volume (1928), 



'Pu^ti Sampradaya’ of the Vaifnavite school, in the last quarter of the 16 th 
Century of the Vikrama era, had visited many cities in Gujarat, while he 
was on his all-India tour, spreading his doctrines of Vaispavism. One thing 
that distinguished him from other Acaryas— preachers — ^was that, unlike 
Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Caitanya and a host of others, he preferred to 
follow the Aupani^adic traditions, and like Yajhavalkya and others, became 
a Gfhastha Acarya. 

This fact explains the ready response given by the majority of con- 
verts to this sect from Gujarat, who could get an ideal of a householder 
devotee — one who could carry on his worldly affairs, and at the same time 
could remain away from them in their hours of secret communion. There 
was no need of renouncing the world in order to secure salvation. This 
comparatively highly attractive element in the doctrines and the model of 
actual life of their preceptors naturally appealed to the mercantile communi- 
ties of Gujarat. It was however Vitthalesvara who carried on his mission 
in Gujarat by visiting it for as many as six times from the North. 

Vallabhacarya has an immense following in and outside Gujarat. 
Many of the rich Bhatia, Luhana, Bania, and Marwadi merchants acknow- 
ledge him and his descendants as their religious head. His immediate des- 
cendants were very learned and holy men, and were able to impress the 
rulers of the land with the exalted ideal of their religious tenets. One of them 
was Vitthalesvara, the second son of Sri Vallabhacarya, who had impress- 
ed Emperor Akbar with his learning and piety. He conferred upon him a 
number of favours; one of them being the title of ‘ Goswami he seems to 
have refused nothing to him. His successors — from Shah Jahan right upto 
Shah Alam — continued to show the same kind of favour to his descendants 
and were anxious to redress their slightest grievance. 

Not only the Emperor Akbar but his august mother Hamidah Banu 
Begum also was impressed with his godliness and piety, and he secured a 
rare honour of the expression of his regard in a Farman gratited by her, 
confirming her son’s behest and opinion. It is a unique honour. There are 
hardly any instances of grants made by Mughal Emperors being confirmed 
or ratified by their mothers. The Firmans in Persian (collected and edited 
by Divan Bahadur K. M. Jhaverl) go to tlw time of Muralidhara, the eldest 
son of Giridhara, the eldest son of Vitthalesvara, covering a period of about 
two hundred years : but they all breathe the spirit of reverence for the 
Goswamis and tolerance for their tenets and observance of those tenets. 

Akbar, as he learnt from Jainism and Zoroastrianism, was also at one 
time a follower of Hindu religion; and no wonder, he respected the Vai^tiava 
Mab&r jijas and conferred lands on them. He assumed all the visible signs 



of that religion. He became a vegetarian, and even put the Hindu ‘Ulaka* 
mark on his forehead, and went out in public with that mark, and with the 
Hindu thread, Rakhi, on his body. The Emperor who took delight in discus- 
sions relating to the world beyond, had invited VitthaleSvara to explain to 
him the nature of the Supreme Being. Being pleased with his exposition, 
Akbar bestowed upon him the village of Gokula as a gift by a Boyal Farmfin, 
addressed to his officers to allow him to live in peace at Gokula and not to 
harass him by demanding any thing such as taxes etc. from him, his 
relatives, or retainers. Later Farmans confirmed the grant of GokfUa as an 
absolute Inam, transferrable and heritable. 

It speaks volumes for the tolerant spirit of the Mughal Emperors that 
not Akbar alone, but his successors raised no difficulties in the ways of the 
Goswami Maharaja and his descendants enjoying their heritage, and that too 
with full knowledge of the fact that the income of Gokula, of the river-ferry, 
and of Jatipura was being utilised for the upkeep of an Idol and its temple 
(Tliakordvara). Still they went on renewing their behests and confirming 
the grants. These grants that are preserved for the posterity serve to demon- 
strate that the earlier successors of the founder of the Sampradaya were 
worthy of all that was bestowed on them, on account of their deep religious 
knowledge, wide scholarship, undoubted piety and social loyalty to the 

In Gujarat Vitthalnathji’s activities were chiefly confined to Ahmeda- 
bad, Cambay and Godhra. In Godhra, one Nagaj! Bhatt, a State officer and a 
Nagar Brahmin, was initiated in the Sampradaya by him, who ever after- 
wards actively helped him in his mission. The gist of the Sectarian philosophy, 
as a reply to his query, was given by Vitthalnathji : “ According to the view 
of Vallabhacarya the appearance of the Lord is the fruit; and the unfailing 
remedy for it is love for him, while all other SadhanSs are useful in generat- 
ing this love. ” Nagaji Bhatt, who was fully initiated to the practice and 
theory of the Sampradaya, was instrumental in the rapid spread of the sect, 
from Samvat 1600 onwards in Gujarat. 

Another felloe who helped him in the mission was Bhaila Kothari of 
Asarva near Ahmedabad, at whose place Vitthalesvara used to put up when 
he visited Dwarka or Gujarat. Bhaila’s son-in-law Gopaladasa has given a 
charming composition called ‘ Vallahhdkhyana ’ or ‘ Navdkhydna ’ in classical 
Gujarati,’" which speaks of Vitthalesvara as ‘ Goswami which surname was 

18. Vide "Introduction" to the "Critical Edition of Mughal Farmans" by D. B, 
X.M. JhaverL 

10. Vide Brhttt KHvya Pohana, Part VIII, pages beginning with 



assumed in Saihvat 1634 (1578 A. D.), after he was granted permission by 
Emperor Akbar to graze his cattle on all lands including the Royal ones, and 
describes the full family of Vitthalesvara, of seven sons and three wives, 
which fixes the date of the poem to about the end of the fourth decade of 
the 17th century of Vikram era. The poem has been the most popular and 
revered among Vaisnavas. Every Vaisnava, male and female, recites it even 
today. Commentaries in Sanskrt and Vraja Bhasa are written on it. The 
commercial people of Gujarat have been fascinated by it. In Cambay, Jiva 
Parekh, a celebrated Bania merchant, was instrumental in the early spread 
of this Vaisnavism. On the whole, through the willing cooperation of Vais- 
navas like Bhaila Kothari and Jiva Parekh, the spread was not only rapid 
but complete. 

Vitthalesvara visited Gujarat not less than six times, the first visit 
being in Saihvat 1600, the last one from Gukula in Samvat 1639. Thus for 
nearly forty years he exercised his personal influence over Gujarat and 
Saurastra. The visits to Gujarat were incidental to his visit to the Shrine 
of Dwarkanathji at Dwarka. His desire and interest in both the provinces 
were engendered by the warm reception of his father and his elder brother 
Sri Gopinatha. Rana Vyasa, a learned pupil of Vallabhacarya, was an 
active worker at Siddhpur, the fourth centre of Vaisnava mission in Gujarat. 
So also there was one Gopaldas of Naroda, a Vaisya by caste. The Swarupa 
of Dwarkanathji at Beyt-Dwarka was installed there by Vallabhacarya, 
during his three visits to the place, in about 1585 Samvat. This is the ear- 
liest Vaisnava temple of this sect in Gujarat. 

To show that religion has a social origin, and is primarily designed 
to suit the religious needs of the masses, we would mention that when 
in Samvat 1616 Vitthalesvara visited the Shrine of Jagannath in Puri 
(Orissa) he witnessed the Rathotsava (car-festival) and .seeing it, asked his 
carpenter who was in his escort to prepare a similar model of the same. 
After he returned to Adel, his place of residence, he took his deity round the 
village in a procession in that model car, and continued to celebrate a Rathot- 
sava every year. But when he shifted his abode to Mathura in 1619, due to 
Mahomedan raids, he had to give up the public celebration of Rathotsava 
on account of Mahomedan fanaticism. 

At Jagannathjl, Vitthalesvara came in contact with the immediate 
followers of Caitanya, and was led to compose ^Swdminl-sloka* in which 
the Eternal consort — Radha — of Sri Krsna was extolled. It is thus how 

^ ^ 




preachers are influenced by their contemporaries who in their turn mould 
the popular religious thought of their times. Vitthalanathjl used to go on 
horseback from Gokula to Govardhana daily, to look after the worship of the 
deities.® He turned his father’s teachings into actual practice and evolved a 
divine religion. Vallabhacarya has mentioned two alternative.*; for realising 
God : “ the first alternative of Tyaga (complete renunciation) could not he 
put into practice, by every one; hence was accepted the second alternative 
of A-tydga, by which every thing was to be utilized for Krsna, whereby the 
ultimate goal was to be gradually reached. With this end in view, he pro- 
mulgated an elaborate mode of rituals for the Sevd-Mdrga (service) , based 
purely on the dictates of the finer sentiments of the heart. As a result, the 
very household of the Vaisnava became free from the experiences of the 
miserable surroundings of the worldly life. 

Gopinatha’s visit to Gujarat had brought him about a lakh of 
rupees as ‘Seva’ (religious endowment), which was dedicated for the 
upkeep of Srinathji. Vitthalesvara’s frequent visits to Gujarat had attract- 
ed rich people to visit the Shrine of Srinalhji in Meva^, and they made 
rich presents to the deity. The initiation ceremony of the Vaisnavas was 
done by a very .simple formula, viz., “Krsna, I am thine’’; but for practical 
purposes, some solemn declaration was necessary and hence an explanation 
was incorporated in the ‘Gadya’ (prose) formula. 

Vitthalesvara contributed much to the development of the aesthetics 
in the modes of worship — Sevd-prakara. All the fine arts were requisitioned 
in the performance of daily worship. The VaLsnava cult refined and spiritu- 
alised the hedonistic elements in the materialistic system, called ‘Carvaka’ 
or ‘Lokayata’, and combined joy in life with purity and spiritual devotion 
to God. He knew both the theory and practice of Indian Music, and some 
of the most charming songs were composed by him to be sung before the 
deity. The music to be sung before the deity was in conformity with each 
season, and with the changing of hours. The deity-worship changed according 
to seasons. Everything was so arranged that if one entered a Pustimargiya 
temple during winter, the moment he was within the precincts of it, he would 
least feel the unpleasantness of winter cold. Similarly during Summer one 
was made to forget that it was Summer. The richest dainties, that were 
daily offered to the deity, also varied according to time and season. Thus 

20, Gopaladasa refers to this incident as under . — 

“ i ” 

21. “55 mfm trfe i 



the science of cooking was given an impetus, to worship the deity with best 
varieties of food. The ' Asta Chapa ’ is the name given to a gallaxy of eight 
.devotee poets of Vrajabha^a whose songs only were permitted to be sung 
before the idol, the most noted of them being Suradasa. This group included 
one Caturbhujadasa, a Patidar hailing from Carotara in Central Gujarat — 
an unique honour for a Gujarat! Vaispava ! 

Painting too was a favourite pastime, utilized for the same higher 
purpose. On Utsava-days beautiful Aratis (shallow plates wherein lights 
are placed for swinging them round the deity) were drawn; and they were 
filled with pearls and were decorated with harmonious blending of colours, 
which exhibited considerable amount of accurate drawing. During the 
Vasanta (Spring) season, beautiful prints both in dried and wet colours 
were utilized in the background curtains (Pichavais) etc. of the deity-worship. 
Similarly beautiful ‘ sand-pictures’ ^ ^) were drawn with the 

choicest colours, depicting the various sports of Krsna. Choicest flowers, 
such as rose. Jasmine, Bakula, Kadaihba, Lotus, etc., were utilized in prepar- 
ing the garlands to be offered daily to the deity. During summer, flower- 
houses (phulaman^li) were organised in such a way that flowers were 
knit and strung together in the most artistic way. In short, the finest arts 
which were developed during the Akbar period were all availed of in the. 
daily worship of Kjrsna. 

Vitthalesvara’s field of activities lay chiefly in Gujarat and Saurastra 
The people of these countries were by instinct commercial, who could not be 
made to take interest in abstruse problems of philosophy. For them, Vitthale- 
svara organised troupes of amateurs who would give life-like representations 
of the various sports of Krsna. These ‘ Rasajiharis’, the itinerant troupes, 
started acting the various episodes of the Radha-Krsna sports in temples and 
the countryside, with the result that the Krsna-Seva creed spread with 
marvellous zeal and rapidity. 

In fact, every thing that belonged to anyone was to be dedicated to 
Kr§na by its tenets of Atmasamarpana or Atmanivedana. There was no 
actual parting with the thing, but there was ingrained remembrance that 
every thing that belonged to one. was not for his own self but for God, a 
doctrine by which the daily life of Vaisnavas turned their ‘Ahaihta’ and 
‘ Mamata’ from Samsara towards God. This doctrine achieved a solution 
for salvation by the simple and sure remedy of worship of Krsna, in which 
every member of the family could take part and all their belongings could 
be best utilized. 

Thus VitthaleSvara made Vai^^avism a living religion among the 
masses of Gujarit It may be noted, however, that all the paraphernalia of 



the Seva, with the deity’s special grace — ‘ Anugraha’— was also called 
‘Pttjfi’; and intense love was a thing never approved of, nor preached by 
Vifthale^ara. Poet Dayaram’s invective against the shams and hyprdcri- 
sies of the Seva-formalisms without the true spirit or Bhdva is well-known 
through poems like: “ Jig SRi5r ^ igtj; ? ” 

Swaminarayana, the Vaisnava reformer of the later 18th Century in 
Gujarat, has preached his followers in his Set>dprakara JSiksdpatri to follow 
whole-heartedly the mode of worship of the Pu^ti SampradSya, so as to 
develop the finer sentiments of the human heart. Experience proved that, 
by following it, the devotees not only did forget the bonds of Saihsira but it 
helped them in feeling the living presence of the deity.” 

The prevalence of Visnu-Bhakti in Gujarat can be traced to earlier 
times. An inscription from Palanpur in Saranga Deva Vaghela’s reign, 
dated Saihvat 1348, mentions a gift made for the worship and offerings to 
the feet of Sri Kri^na ( gftgw iqf gjgt The introductory 

verse of ‘Dasavatara Stuti’ in this inscription from Citagovinda (‘Sargal’) 
composed in Bengal in 1250 A. D., is a strong proof of Sri Krspa cult in 
Gujarat. There is a folio from the MSS. of '•Visnu-bhakti-candrodaya’ 
noticed in the ‘ Bhdvnagar Inscriptions ’ dated S. V. 1649, which is prior to 
either Caitanya or Vallabha. Many other inscriptions and sculptures are 
also noticed.” 

The cult of Visnu existed since the 10th Century as observed by Dr. 
Burgees from the remains of a temple of Visnu near Modhera,” which mani- 
fested itself upto the 15th Century in many channels rather unobserved. It 
spread throughout the country due to the readings of the Bhdgavata Purdna 
and the Citagovinda and the padas of Narsiihha Mehta. However Vaisnavism 
had not evolved as a sect upto this time. It was left for Vallabhacarya to 
make it a popular and the all-absorbing religion of the Gujaratis, with a 
practical code of Sevd-prakdra, wherein other cults were absorbed. 

Some look upon this new Vaisnavism as Jainism tacked on to the old 
worship of Sri Krsn§, as Christianity may be described as ‘ Buddhism tacked 
on to Judaism ’. Buddhism was dead and Buddha had been changed into an 
Avatdra of Vi?nu and Buddhists had turned generally into Vaisnavas. Natu- 
rally the respect for Ahiihsa came back with the force of a returning tide; 

22. Vide the illuminating Life-skelch oj ViUhalesvara by the late Mulacandra 
TeliwalS, B. A., LL. B., meant to be an introduction to his edition of Vidvan- 
maifdiiV^ (published posthumously in the issues of 'duddhidvalta' Monthly). 

23. DurgUahkar Shfistrl, History of Vaifttavism (1947). 

24. Arehasotogfeal Survey of India, Vol. XXXII, page 105. 



and Vai^navism took up Ahiihsa as it had never done before. By doing so 
it succeeded in disarming the Jaina attacks and thus succeeded in appealing 
to the common people. Though J 2 unism and Vai^navism were at one on the 
doctrine of Ahiihsa, they unfortunately differed most strongly on the ques- 
tion of asceticism. The Hindu world swung alternatively between asceticism 
and epicurianism, the philosophy of self-mortification and that of self-indul- 
gence. Sri Kriisna's life practically preached the doctrine of the enjoyment 
of world’s blessings, though he always preached the value of the golden mean. 
His worship however soon drifted into epicurianism which appeared in Ben- 
gal and in middle and western India during the 16th and 17th Centuries, 
and soon became popular. While, therefore, the new Vaisnavism taught 
Ahiihsa like Jainism, unlike Jainism it taught the enjoyment of the worldly 
blessings. The swing went naturally to the other extreme point like a pen- 
dulum, and licentiousness became the leading feature of this neo-Vaisnavism. 

After the powerful and holy successors of Vallabha ceased to command 
personal respect, the Vaisnava laymen degenerated in the practice of their 
religion and the word ‘ Pusti * became a synonym for becoming * fat ’ by 
indulging in all the luxuries of the world. The sect began to experience a 
natural decay due to the perverse opinion about the godlike sanctity of their 
Gurus. The ‘ Samarpan! ’, i. e., one who has dedicated his self and all his 
belongings at the feet of Sri Krsna being initiated by them, began to look 
upon these Gurus as their spiritual as well as temporal lords, perhaps influ- 
enced by the highly eulogistic poem of Gopaladas. Hence devotion degenerat- 
ed to debauchery and the purely spiritual interpretation of Kri^nalila came 
to be understood as erotic flirtations of worldly character.'* Akho is equally 
hard and out-spoken about them, from his personal knowledge. The physical 
side of the religion, namely to enjoy feasts of prasada and then sing at leisure 
was the normal routine of these debased 'Vaisnavas.” Krsnaram has also to 
add to such scathing criticism of the sect and its follower.?." 

25. Samalbhatt : 

26. Akho : 

27. Kri$9&r&m : 

« 1^01^ efi^, fifig ?.iJT. 

#55 ^ 5ig HW, 

trsTiR ” 

5tR, 6^ urar ^*1. 

^ ” 

« ^(1 wwr, 


The epicurian principles of the Vallabha sect led to the reform of the 
Vaii^nava church early in the 19th century by Sahajananda Swami, a man of 
deep religious feelings and high morality, whose sect known as the * Swami- 
Narayana' is at present of great importance in Gujarat. He preached 
chastity and purity of soul as a keynote of religion. By his preaching and 
his own exemplary life he succeeded in making many converts, chiefly among 
the lower classes. The book which is usually read by the followers of the 
sect in their daily prayers is called ^SiksdpatrV or 'Book of Precepts', 
embodying practical ethics. It prohibits the destruction of animal life, pro- 
miscuous intercourse with the other sex, use of animal food and intoxicating 
drinks and drugs, theft and robbery, blasphemy, false accusation and caste 

Sahajananda, an ascetic in life and a fierce denouncer of immorality, 
especially among the priesthood, made many enemies, and for a time was 
subjected to persecution. Accepting the ordinary Hindu theology and up- 
holding the worship of Krsna, Sahajanand contented himself with trying to 
mend men’s ways by preaching morality and holy living. Among the dis- 
orderly classes of Saurastra he denounced riot and robbery and among the 
rich traders of Ahmedabad and Kaira, luxury and debauchery. For his 
followers he laid down rules for a life of almost ascetic rigour and self- 
denial. Sahajananda replaced the worship of Radha and Krsna by the wor- 
ship of Laksmi and Narayana or Rukmini and Krsna, just to purge the 
worship of the unwarranted flirtations of an unmarried damsel with Krsna. 
There were notable poets, dedicated to this sect, who have given good 
religious, moral and devotional poetry, — Brahmananda, Premananda, Mukta- 
nanda, etc., to mention the topmost among them. 

VL Cult of Mother-worship 

The theory of God and His Sakti has been foreshadowed in the Vedas, 
in the conjoint worship of Heaven and Earth (dydvdprthivyau) . In the 
later Saiva mythology this conception finds its artistic representation in Siva’s 
form of Ardha-nari^ara, testifying the union of the male and the female 
spirit. The symbolism of Ardha-narlsvara was taken to explain the two 
main divisions of the gakti cult, the ^daksina mdrga ’ (the right-hand sect) 
and the ^vdma mdrga'^ (the left-hand sect). In the ordinary right-hand 
worship by the Smartas (the larger section of the orthodox twice-born) in 
their houses, especially during Navaratra festival, the Goddess is represent- 
ed by a ' Yantra ' or by a garlanded ‘ gfcata, ’ and the ritual includes the 
five-fold ‘pfijd’ and the presentation of vegetable offerings. The Lamp-tree 
(Sanskpt Prakyt Gujarati qf^) lighted at night and carried in 



the streets in a procession, accompanied with Garaba dance by both the sexes, 
is another symbol of popular worship of the Goddess in Gujarat. But the 
most important part of the service is the recitation of the Cai^dl the 
Dimga episode, preceded and followed by other sacred texts : the Kavoca, 
Argala etc., drawn from the Markandeya and Varaha Purapas. 

In the development of theistic and devotional Hinduism, the feminine 
powers (comprising types of beneficent powers of fecundity and prosperity, 
as well as malevolent demons) could be and gradually were, incorporated 
into a consistent theological scheme as manifestations of one Goddess, 
who is either Herself the Supreme Power (energy) or the Power inherent 
in a male deity. As power, the goddess is called ‘ Sakti ’ and her manifold 
forms ‘ Saktis ’. Along with the worship of ‘ Sakti * in many forms, either 
beneficent or terrible, the Saktas have developed an elaborate hierarchy of 
feminine figures — ^the Mahavidyas, Mahamataras, Yoginis, etc. The advocacy 
of the female principle has afforded an easy means for absorbing many 
aboriginal beliefs into the fringe of Hinduism. 

Under the influence of the gradually developing phases of popular 
Vaiisnavism, the cult of Siva and Sakti was greatly modified; and it resulted 
in the right-hand worship of the Mother Goddess, with identical rites and 
ceremonies. True Saktas are, however, not at all numerous in Gujarat. 
While locating the cult of Sakti over the different provinces in India, the 
Sakta Pandits are fond of reciting the following couplet" : 

“ sRSlfecIT ^ 1 

»raT 11 ” 

“The cult was proclaimed in Gauda, and was developed by the 
Maithils; it is only occasionally met with in Maharastra, but has completely 
disappeared in Gujarat.’’ 

The earliest passage regarding the worship of the goddess Durga, 
occurs in the Mahabharata wherein is celebrated the threefold aspect of her 
form, representing the triple qualities of the Trinity. Two hymns in the 
Harivamsa, and the episode in the Markandeya Purina, known as the Devi 
Mdhdtmya,* show a still further advance. ' 

28. A kindred verse occurs in the Bhdgavata Mdhatmya from Padma PuraijA, with 
reference to the prevalence of Bhakti, where Bhakti personified declares as 

“ ami i 

II ’’ 

29. The text is variously known as 'Devi Bhagavati Mahatmya’ or ‘DeviMaha- 
tmya,' 'Durgi Pitha’, ‘ Capdi-Patha ' or shortly ‘Capd>’ and also 'SaptaSati’ 
(comprising of 700 verses). 



The Harivamia probably dates from the 4th century, and the Cartd^' 
Mahatmy&, almost certainly from the 6th century at the latest; for it forms 
the chief background of Bapa’s Cart^USatdka, an ode to Capdi iu a 
hundred verses, which was written at the court of Emperor Har^avardhana 
early in the 7th century. 

The Cai}^i~Mdhatmya, though concerned with the exploits of the 
goddess Candl, curiously enough, does not form a part of the Paurapic texts 
sacred to the Sakta sect, namely the Devi Bhagavata, and the Kalikd Purdna, 
which are taken as Upa-purdnas. This fact clearly testifies to the non- 
sectarian nature of the Candi-Mdhdtmya, which comprises of 13 Adhyayas 
(Adh. 78 to 90 in the Mdrkandeya Purdna). The same episode is, however, 
fotmd expanded to 35 Adhyayas in the Fifth Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata. 

It is the non-sectarian character of the contents of the Durgd Mdhdt- 
mya that has led to the prevalence and popularity of the theme, which is a 
panegyric to the glories of Sakti — the mother, protector, and the benefactor 
of the human race. Love, in its various spiritual forms, thus permeates the 
cult of Kali-Durga in Gujarat, where she has lost most of her terrible phases 
and has become the Sweet Mother of the Universe, Bhadra-kalL 

The Durgd Devi Mdhdtmya describes in great detail the furious fights 
in which the goddess destroyed certain demons who were threatening the 
gods. Here her limitless power and her terrific appearance find forcible, 
even ghastly, expression. She devours unnumbered foes and drinks their 
blood. It also deals with the exploits of the goddess Candl, who killed the 
buffalo-demon Mahisasura emanated as she was as the spirit of light from 
Brahma, Visnu and the minor deities, who had contributed to the formation 
of the Mahadevi’s limbs, as well as her ornaments and weapons. 

The story runs that there was a king by the name of Suratha of the 
line of Caitra, who was driven away from his kingdom by powerful enemies 
and treacherous friends and who rode alone on horse-back to a dense jungle 
knowing not what to do. There he met a Vaisya by the name of Samadhi, 

who had been robbed by greedy sons and a selfish wife. Both Suratha and 

Samadhi sought the Hermitage of the saint Medhas for the solution of their 
troubles and the attainment of mental peace. The saint narrates the exploits 
of the goddess by whose grace both of them got the desired boon. 

The earliest literary reference to the Devi Mdhdtmya episode in 
Gujarat is the poem Surathotsava” by Somesvaradeva. the author of the 
historical panegyric Kirti-kaumudi, a Nagar Brahmin from Vadnagar, who 
was honoured as Gurjareswara Purohita during the reigns of two Solanki 

30. Published in the Kdvyd Maid series. 



sovereigns, Bhimadeva and Visaladeva in the 13th century A, D. It is a 
Sanskrt poem of 15 cantos in the style of a Mahakavya, woven round the in* 
cident of king Suratha’s banishment, who ultimately recovered his kingdom 
through the boon of the Devi, whose mdhatmya he heard, and by his 
devotion appeased her. 

A passing reference to the religious history of Gujarat, suggests that 
when the people of Gujarat followed either the Sakti-worship or animism, 
the ‘ Garaba ’ was the popular folk-dance. Later on with the development 
of the ‘rasa ’ or cow-herd dance (evolved from the ‘ halUsaka ’ and the 'lasya^ 
of the treatises on Music), Vaisnavism came to be preached in Gujarat; and 
as a result, the Sakta and animistic beliefs were artistically blended together 
evolving a novel form of secular dance. 

The indigenous drama of Gujarat, ‘ Bhavai ’ (may be from ‘ bhava ' — ^the 
name of the ‘ sutradhara *, or ‘ Bhavani \ the goddess) as it is popularly called, 
is originally associated with dramatic performances of the glorious deeds of 
the goddess Amba. These are always acted for the whole night of the vigil 
before the sacred image, even by some of the highest of the Brahmins of 
Gujarat. Owing to the gradual decay of religious inspiration’‘\ however, 
these performances have, through the march of time, led to the growth of a 
secular element, based on realistic farce and contemporary satire. 

The growth of such entertainments appears to be clearly in accordance 
with the text of the Mdhdimya, where it is said that the Gandharvas 
performed ‘ lalita ’-.shows to celebrate the victory of goddess Mahakali over 
the demon Surhbha. In the Maratha country, on such occasions the 
‘gondhala’ dance is performed in honour of Amba Bhavani, in connection 
with which songs are sung in praise of the goildess, admitting of some com- 
parison with the Gujarati ‘ garabas 

Sakta feeling expressed itself in vernacular in Gujarat in the transla- 
tion of the Candi episode of Sridhara in 120 stanzas of Dihgal Gujarati, 
styled * Devi kaviild ’ (in early 15th century) which is prior to the Sapta 
Sail by Bhalana who rendered Bana’s Kddamhari in Gujarati verse in about 
1500 A. D, Premananda rendered it in ‘desi’ tunes as a portion of the 
whole of the Mdrkandeya Purdna in Sariivat 1765 (1709 A. D.). Vallabha- 
bhatta, a contemporary of Premananda, and Ranachodaji Diwan, the author 
of ‘ Tarikh-i-Soratha ’ have told the story in as many ‘garabas’ (popular 

31. The following titles of popular religious scenes (Vesas) acted during Bhavai 
are restored from oral tradition: (1) Ardha-narisvara, (2) Kalika, (3) Vamana- 
svarupa, (4) Caturbhuja, (5) Rama-Lak§mapa, (6) Kahana-gopi, and (7) 



jSSkta-songs sung by companies of men and women) , as there are Adhyay as 
in the original Sanskrt text. A few poets like Mithu from a village on the 
banks of the Mahi river, and Natha Bhavana of Junagadh, tended to write 
more along lines of Sakta teachings, inclined towards ritual meditation than 
towards devotion and service. 

Gujarat claims to have three of the prominent Siddha-pithas of Sakti 
— that of Arhbika at Arasura near Mt. Abu, of Kalika on Pavagadha Hill, and 
of Bala Bahucara on the high plains of North Gujarat. Asapura, Varahi, 
Sindhavai, and Khodiara are other popular goddesses in popular worship. 

An historic incident, illustrating how Ambika's grace was showered on 
one Gujarati merchant is recorded both in literature, as well as in painting"“^. 
The incident forms a stock illustration testifying to the efficacy of “ kavaca * 
prayers to the goddess as referred to in the following sloka: “Whoever on 
high seas has his ship caught in a whirlwind storm, by remembering my 
glories described in the (Devlmahdimya) text, will soon get relieved.*’ (Adh. 

12, SI. 28). 

One Akherama (Saiiivat 1750-1800), a Nagar Vaisya hailing from 
Visanagar (N. Gujarat), was carrying on immense trade with China in opium 
from Malwa, and had a firm at Mandsor. While on return voyage from China, 
with valuable treasure, he and his ships were caught in a terrible storm. At 
this juncture Akherama ardently prayed to Moiher goddess (Arhbika) for 
help, and staked half of his treasure to be presented to the goddess 
on rescue. It is said, his prayer : 

“ Rescue, O ! Rescue my sinking ships, O Mother- ! 
and bring us on, O Mother, to the shore ! '* 

was heard; and goddess Arhbika, with a slight touch of her ‘tri-5jula’ dragged 
out from the storm the devotee and his cargo, which were in peril. It is re- 
ported that the ends of the ‘ tri-sula" were consequently found bent in the 
temple at Arasura (Abu). The firm of Akherama Jhaveri at Mandsor, called 
‘ Ba^a Parekhjiwala ’ is still well-known for its devotion towards Arhbika, 
who is described in teits as the refuge of all sufferers and all who are pursu- 
ed by enemies, internal and external. 

The efficacy of the text as a pacifying remedy — a ‘ santi-upacara ’ — is 
also recognised in an early 16th century Old Gujarati poem. In order to 
relieve the uneasiness caused in the mind pf Kamakandala at her separa- 

32. A photograph of the original painting 200 years old, at Mandsor (C. I.) was 
published for the first time in the Bombay Samdchdr (Gujarati), Weekly 
edition for 2nd December, 1934. 




tion from Madhava, various remedies were tried and the recitals of Durga* 
patha were also resorted to” 

The Jainas are not averse to Sakti worship; however, they do not 
allow Sakti the place of principal reverence as creative energy of the world. 
The conception and imagery of the sixteen Sruta Devatas and the Yaksinis 
of the Tirthankaras, disclose points of identity in respect of names, attri* 
butes, etc. with those of the Navadurgas mentioned in the Devi-mahatmya. 
Sarasvati or Sruta dcvl of the Syctambaras riding the swan, with four 
hands, bearing a lotus, vlna (or varada), book and rosary, resembles Brah- 
mani of the Hindu pantheon. The Manavl of the Jainas, who sits on a twig 
or on a blue lotus and is of deep green colour, resembles the Sakambhari of 
the Devimahatmya. Other comparisons with Aindri, Varahi, Kaumari, 
KMi and Mahesvarl are omitted for want of space. 

The most prolific source of materials for the Western Indian school of 
miniature-painting, outside the Jaina environment, is the group of illustrat- 
ed paper MSS. depicting the episodes from the Devl-Mdhatmya. These 
episodes and the occasional panegyrics to the Glory of the Goddess refer to 
the controlling of brute-force by the Soul-force of the kindest yet the cruel- 
lest of women, the Mahadevi, which is the Supreme Power. The real ‘Devi- 
Yuddha’ is the destruction of egotism, pride and self-seeking by the power 
of the Goddess, that is in us and acts through us. The study of the text and 
the paintings of the Dein-MdhdUnya is, therefore, believed to lead to this 
ideal, if properly understood,"^ 

VII. Religion of the Masses 

To what was probably its original forpi — a Nature Worship in a large 
degree as introduced by Aryan missionaries — has been added an enormous 
amount of demonolatry, fetishism and kindred forms of primitive religion, 
much of which has been adopted from races which it is convenient to des- 
cribe as ^ aboriginal This power of assimilation in the domain of religion 
had its advantages as well as dangers. While on the one hand it ended to 
promote the unity of Hindu society, it degraded op the other hand the 
national character by the introduction of impure cults which then already 
existed as a substratum of local beliefs. * 

Upto this point we have dealt with the historical, literary, and what 
may be termed the official development of Hinduism. But below the upper 

33. Vide my edition of Mddhavanala Kdmakandald Prahandha in OJd Gujarati 
(Saihvat 1574), published in the Baroda G. O. Series, Vol. I (No. 93) (1941):— 

34. Vide, Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art : June-December, 1938 
M. R. Majmudar. 



crust of observances which Brahmanism, Buddhism and Jainism enforced, 
there was a mass of more primitive beliefs which formed the real faith of 
majority of the people. This jungle of diverse beliefs and cults has been 
called ‘animism’ or ‘folk-lore*, by which is meant the belief which explains 
primitive men the constant movements and changes in the world of things 
by the theory that every object which has activity enough to affect him in 
any way is animated by a ‘ Life ’ and ‘Will ’ like his own. 

The leading features of animism as summarised by Risley are : “It 
conceives of man as passing through life surrounded by a ghostly company 
of powers, elements, tendencies, mostly impersonal in their character, 
shapeless phantasms of which no image can be made and no definite idea 
can be formed. Some of these have departments or spheres of influence of 
their own. One presides over cholera, another over small-pox, another 
over cattle-disease; some dwell in rocks, others haunt trees, others again are 
associated with rivers, whirlpools and water-falls. All of them require to 
be diligently propitiated by reason of the ills which proceed from them.’”'* 

The poverty of the villager in Gujarat, his dependence on precarious 
rainfall for his scanty supplies of foods, the risk of hail, draught and periodic 
famine, tended to convince him that his very existence was menaced by 
calamities beyond his control, and that disease and death were always 
imminent. People in this lower stage of intellectual and economic culture, 
were led to attribute calamities such as these to the wrath of some offended 
deities, to the curse of some angry priest or ascetic, to the machinations 
of the witch or the malignity of evil spirits. Thus their view of life was taint- 
ed by pessimism, and, from their point of view, life was a constant struggle 
against the mighty forces of Nature and their environment. Hence their reli- 
gion was based on the feeling of awe in the presence of some unknown force. 

A better class of a village in Gujarat plains usually possesses a shrine 
dedicated to Visnu, Siva or one of the Mother Goddesses, Devi and her 
sisters, built or endowed by the Village land-owner or money-lender, and 
served by a Brahmin priest or a member of one of the ascetic orders. A 
villager, being one of«the general strata of the masses of Gujarat, ceremoni- 
ously bows before the shrine and makes an offering or he visits the temples 
of the higher Gods when he goes on pilgrimage to some holy place; but his 
real faith is placed in his village godlings, and at some crisis of his life, when 
epidemic breaks out, when his crops wither in the draught, when his 
wife craves the boon of a male child — it is from the godlings of his tribe, 
caste or hamlet that he seeks relief. 

35. Risley : Caste in India. 



Codlings of Nature : Surya is revered as the source of light and heat 
and dreaded as the cause of heat-stroke or fever. Sun-worship is said to 
have come from Central Asia with Huna invaders of the fifth century, and 
temples were erected in honour of the Sun at Bhinnamal as well as Mothers 
at a later period. Sun-worship plays an important part in the religious life 
of the orthodox Hindu who repeated his Gayatri : “Let us meditate on that 
excellent glory of the divine Sun, the Giver of Life. May He enlighten our 
understanding ! ” Unmarried girls in the hope of winning a good husband 
and married women who long for a son, worship him. 

Eclipses of the Sun and the Moon play an important part in the public 
and family ritual, and there are many explanations to account for their 
occurrences, which are taken as a crisis and a time of danger because demons 
are abroad. 

The Great Bear or the Saptarsi is taken as the emblem of permanence; 
bride and bride-groom follow the ancient rite of worshipping him and using 
this form of magic to secure the constancy of both in their married life. 

Comets were also equally feared as they portend evil. A comet which 
appeared in 1618 in the reign of Jahangir was said to have caused a terrible 
outbreak of plague in Ahmedabad. 

The cults of the Mother-Earth designated as Dharati, the upholder of 
the human animal and vegetable life, which rests on the surface, are also 
not unknown. The functions of the Mother-Earth are well-marked. Among 
many castes at their weddings, it is the custom of women to fetch from the 
village clay-pit the lucky earth. It is known as “Ukardi notarvi” in Gujarat. 

Water is the prime source of fertility. In Indian art the reprsentations 
of an elephant or elephants pouring >vater from the trunks on Laksmi, 
Goddess of Prosperity, is found in Buddhistic as well as later art. Water is 
often used in marriage rites. 

The occurrence of floods is often assigned to the action of demons. 
When a village is endangered by a flood thq headman makes an offering of 
a coconut to the flood-demon, and adds a woman^s robe (cundadt) possibly 
the survival ot the custom of human sacrifice. Coconut is a favourite 
offering because from its shape it represents the head of a human victim. 
So also when water could not be stored up in lakes, human sacri- 
fices were offered to the supposed wronged water-deity. The Sahasra- 
linga lake at Patan, the Sarmista Talao at Vadnagar and the Madha-Vava 
at Wadhwan are connected by popular ballads with a willing sacrifice by 



R husband and wife for the communal welfare of the town** Rain is th® 
prime need of the Gujarat peasant and many methods are adopted to procure 
it. In times of draught it is believed that Indra wishes to lay waste the 
towns and villages, and accordingly the people desert the inhabited sites 
and cook their food outside, as in a picnic. 

The Village Codlings : The village in its primitive form was self- 
contained and as a result of this isolation came the necessity for the demar- 
cation and sanctification of the boundary which fixed the limits of settled 
occupancy. The boundary rites naturally developed into the cult of a special 
boundary-spirit. The bride-groom who is received near the boundary-line 
of the marriage-bower (mandapa) by the mother-in-law has his feet washed 
in order that he may not carry the evil with him ! 

One of the leading village Codlings is Ksetrapala, the field- 
guardian.'^ Human sacrifice to worship these deities appear all through the 
history of Hinduism. It was to a great extent a question of life-insurance 
based on its primitive form of the theory of substitution, — a life for a life. 
With the spread of Buddhism and Vaisnavism and the dawn of wider reli- 
gious opinions, the blood-sacrifice tended to be commented. Samal Bhatt’s 
version of ‘Vetala Pancavisr narrates the horrid tale of a heap of bones in 
the secret chamber of a Siddha. 

One form of human sacrifice, the foundation-sacrifice, had deeply 
impressed the popular imagination. It was generally believed that one 
condition of the permanence of a great building, or the embankment of a 
reservoir, depended on the sacrifice of a human being, whose ghost becomes 
the guardian-spirit of the structure. In former times, it seems to have been 
the custom to select the foundation-victim from one of the menial castes. 
According to Forbes, a scavenger Mayo was sacrificed in order that Sahasra- 
linga could hold water.’"' 

The village godlings came to be specialized and invested with separate 
functions and became departmental deities. Among these none was more 
prominent in a tropical climate where Malaria was endemic and epidemics 


36. Compare songs like : ^‘4 Wr m etc*., and 

from vfR 2, % v-. 

37. The mock marriage of a girl whose suitable mate could not be found is sug- 
gested in the proverb ‘ \ 

The exact belief in vogue, however, cannpt be traced. 

38. Prof. K. H. Dhruva has doubted the authenticity of this episode.— 'Wotes on, 
Cdlukya Varhsa” in Buddhi prakdsa, November 1927. 

39. Cf, Prem&nand2i*s Suddma Carita: 



were rife. The peasant was too ignorant to understand the necessity of 
sanitation, too indifferent and suspicious to seek medical relief. Thus 
leprosy of Sarhba, Krisna*s son, and of the poet Mayura was cured by 
appeasing the Sun, the latter of whom had composed 100 verses in doing so. 

Small-pox in charge of Sitala — 'the cool, chilly one\ her euphemistic 
title based on the strong fever accompanying an attack— was the terror of 
mothers*’ in a land where an attack, often fatal, was a common incident in 
a child’s life. Sitala is represented either by a clay or a stone image of a 
female riding on an ass, holding a water-pot and a broom in her hands, and 
a winnow on the head,*’ to which were hung leaves of the Nimba tree and 
a creeper; and to it milk, flowers and fruit were offered — all soothing things. 
She is in fact the Goddess of Sanitation and Hygiene. The Sitala Saptaml 
vow, observed even today by women of Gujarat, is an yearly day held in 
respect of Sitala, when all cooking is held up and things ‘ cold ’ (wrongly 
understood for ‘ soothing ’) alone are eaten, to appease the Goddess. 

Cholera or Mahamari is another of such disease-godlings. A method 
of passing on the disease from the village by a cart, is called Mdtd no Ratha 
common in Gujarat. The cart was dragged a couple of miles beyond the 
place where Cholera first appeared, to a place where four roads met, the 
cart being emptied there and the food offered to outcastes. 

For many of the diseases, appropriate forms of spell or incantations 
were prescribed, to relieve not only diseases attributed to spirits but even 
for snake-bite and scorpion-bites. These made up much of the rural folk- 
medicine. References to these spells are abundant in stories of the Jaina 
Yatis and of Samal Bhatl. 

Among people of the lower culture, beating was a well-known means 
for expelling demons. The wide-spread custom of hanging rags on trees 
to relieve disease and other troubles is probably based on a belief which 
regards it to be an offering of respect to the tree-Spirit. The Cintharia 
Deva is established where people object to the felling of a tree, and so paint 
a figure of Siva’s tridant on it and throw a number of stones at its root. 

No group of rites is more important in the religk)n of the peasant than 
those devoted to the propitiation of his Ancestors, the kindly Dead. The 
series of rites by which the tendance rather than worship of the soul of the 
departed is accomplished is known as ' Sraddha an act done with faithful 

40. Verse describing reads as under 



^ The general cult of ancestor- worship developed only, to the limits 
wherein persons renowned for their piety and virtue, or distinguished 
in some other way, were included. In this class came the Siddha, the 
‘perfect’, sometimes identified with the Yogi, holy-man who ‘by his 
austerities gained yoga or communion with the Divine’. As the Sadhu 
(popular name for Siddha) was supposed to be in a condition of trance when 
he died, the corpse was buried and not cremated; the platform raised over 
the place was called his ‘Samadhi* — ^profound meditation. Kabir, Dadu, 
Jfianesvara and countless others were accordingly buried. Many religious 
leaders or founders of sect have been deified. 

The next link between ancester-worship and hero-cults is that of the 
Sat), ‘the virtuous wife’. The custom was usual among families of the 
warrior class, when Sati on her way to the pyre marked the chief gateway 
of a temple or a fort with the impress of her hand steeped in vermilion. 
These marks were afterwards made permanent by chiseling and were wor- 
shipped by her relations. A blessing given by a Sati on her way to death 
was highly valued, her curses brought ruin on those against whom they 
were directed. “ The names of Ranaka Devi and Nagamati are already re- 
ferred to in another context. Satis from the Brahmin caste were also not 

At many places in Gujarat and Saurastra, particularly on the banks 
of rivers or tanks, little masonry shrines dedicated to a Sati may be seen, 
and they often take the place of or include those in honour of the Saintly 
dead. Crooke has wittingly ob.served ^ that “the peasant is not careful about 
the object of his devotion; and, one of the pillars of the Revenue Survey has 
been found doing duty as the Shrine of some nameless Sati !” 

Besides the divine men of their own race or religion, the Hindu peasant 
of the land worships a number of Musalman saints. The names of Jamal- 
.shah, Angarsha, Arjunsha, and many others may be recounted here. The 
curses of deified men are highly dangerous. A famous saint appeared at 
the great city of Valabhi, but no one, save a potter’s wife, would cook for 

him. So he cursed the city and warned the potter and his wife to leave the 


41. Hence, the Gujarati pi-ovc-rb: ‘ ^ ’ 

Vide, G. V. Acarya’s paper on Stones in the Bombay Presidency' at the 

Third Oriental Conference, Madras (1925), 

42. Satima PraUHkurhvar, daughter of Divan An andaram MunsilT and mother of 
Mehta Chotabhai Udesankar, aged 18, arj^d other son Lalbhai, aged 15, (the 
great-great-grand-mother of Sir Cinubhdi Baronet) aged 55 became Sati on the 
banks of Sarasvati, near Hariharesvara temple at Pfitan, in Samvat 1855, 
dr&vaoaiVadi Ek&dashi. 

48. RaMflflan and Pplfcipr# o/ Nonhurn India, page 156, 



city, and he adjured the woman not to look back. But when she reached the 
sea-shore, she, like Lot’s wife, disobeyed the order, and she was turned into 
a pillar stone ! At that moment Valabhi was destroyed " The taboo against 
looking back appears in many tales. 

The Dreams sometimes are believed to reveal the dead through them. 
In the Buddhist royal courts special officials were appointed to interpret 
dreams, and now-a-days little manuals are sold in the bazars known as 
‘'Sakunavali”, the collection of rules to interpret omens, good or bad." Some 
Jaina writers of the 15th and 16th centuries have composed poems in old 
Gujarati to cater for the taste of the masses. As the spirit is supposed to 
leave the body in a dream, it is prohibited to wake up a sleeping man 
suddenly. Dreams have played a considerable part in forecasting either 
good or bad incidents connected with history and literature of Gujarat." 
Falling in love in a dream, just as Usa did with Aniruddha, is a stock in- 
cident in the folk- tales. As for the dream, so for the shadow of a man, which 
is taken to be a part of his personality, like his soul; it may be separated 
from him or an enemy may injure him by maltreating his shadow. Manu 
has warned the Dvija not to step intentionally on the shadow of an idol, of 
a Guru, of a King or of one who has been initiated. 

The consideration of these beliefs regarding the soul leads to the con- 
ceptions of the Bhuta, a created being, — an uncanny fellow, spirit, ghost, or 
goblin — that besets the imagination of uncultured people. In its most mali- 
gnant form, it was believed to be the ghost of a man who had perished by a 
violent death, by epidemic as opposed to endemic disease, by accident, 
suicide or capital punishment; and its malignity was enhanced if it had been 
denied due funeral rites. Hence arose the pressing demand of the death- 
ritual, of the Sraddha, and other rites of appeasement and tendance of the 
dead. The mentality of an average Gujarati is not free from this belief and 
they have read of various ghost-stories, the most popular being *Vetdla 
PacisV (Pancavisi), and the incidents in Jaina * Rasas ^ where the super- 
natural is utilized to heighten the interest and fancy of the credulous 
Gujarati men and women. Even Brahmans in Gujarat dread the ghost of 

44. Rasa Mala, Page 14. 

45. Vide, “Secular Paintings of Kdkaruta (Samvat 1561) and l^akunamdW* 
M. R. Majmudar, Dr. A.B.Dhruva Commemoration Volume (1943); Lalit Kald, 
No. 9. (1962). 

46. See, Folk-<songs in which they figure as popular persons; as in Hadhidlt Rata 
Part I in songs like 

^ ^ ?r5f ’ 

47. Manu Smrti, Adh. IV, 61, 130, 



a wwnan who has died while pregnant, on the day of the birth of a child or 
during the prescribed period of impurity, believing that she becomes a 
DakinI, one of the female friends who attend the blood-thirsty goddess Kali 
and feed on human flesh. 

The custom of religious suicide as in starving oneself to death, or 
taking a fatal jump and the like, in fulfilment of vows either for temporal or 
future good is met with in the religion of the masses. Ascetics used to hurl 
themselves over the rocks either at the Orakara temple on the Narmada or 
the particular peak on the Girnar called ' Bhairava jarhpa ’ in the hope of 
being reincarnated in a more happy state in a future birth, a practice sup- 
pressed by the British in 1824. The 'Karvata' (the saw) at Benares was 
also reputed to be doing the same service in popular belief.® The Gujarati 
proverb ‘ qNtJTIiTNt ’ smells of the same practice wherein the desire 

of a cobbler to get a higher birth in the next life was afterwards given up. 
his ideal being centred upon the birth in his own caste, as birth in a higher 
caste entailed on him higher rituals and intricate ceremonies. The metrical 
romance of *Hansdvali ’ by Sivadas in Sarhvat 1684 has a lively incident 
woven round this ‘ Karvata ’ custom, which was ultimately stopped through 
the intercession of the King of Benares as related in the story. 

Night is the time when demons are supposed to walk abroad, and 
lightened fire alone scares them. The scaring away of demons by the power 
of light is illustrated by the custom of Arati or waving in circular motion 
of lights around a person as a protection, and by the Diwali or the ‘ annual 
feast of lights ’ when the Pitrs are .shown the light. The Vidhata or the 
$ai^thl Devi is said to visit the new-born child on the night of the sixth day 
when she writes down the future of the child, known as the ‘ Chattht na 
lekha’, which can hardly be changed. 

In the folk-tales Raksasas change their forms at will. To close the 
catalogue of malignant .spirits or demons we may mention those who are 
invoked to frighten children. The Ghogha Rana — Lascar Seamen from the 
port of Ghogha — were called upon to send children to sleep, but some say 
that the word is really connected with ‘ Ghuggu \ the owl. 

48. The mention of these ways of sclI-mortification is found in Thobhaija’s Rddhd- 
Krf^a nd Viraha nd Mahind : 

“iHf ! 

JfiRftv. 31^ 45^ g«I 5 , ! 

ifii snog li Rtn 'ttik 5ti® ! 



Certain places are believed to be specially haunted by Bhutas or evil 
spirits. First they naturally infest burial or cremation grounds, the awe 
or loneliness suggesting that they are haunted. Old ruins which are un- 
canny from their loneliness and because their desolation implies that the 
luck of the original owners has become exhausted are also believed to be 
haunted. The respect for caves is believed to be due to the old custom 
of cave-burial. It is believed that many of the caves occupied for religious 
purposes by Buddhists, Hindus or Jainas or inhabited by ascetics were 
used for this purpose. *' 

Bhutas may enter the body tlirough the mouth and nose, a belief 
which explains the customs in connection with sneezing, yawning or 
hiccough. Various forms of congratulation or deprecation are used in the case 
of sneezing. There is some difference of opinion as to whether a sneezing is 
auspicious or not and generally it is considered as a bad omen. Hence the 
Gujarati phrase sff 'Tfi)- Even Mahomedans, when a man sneezes, 

say, " Allah-ni-duvah” and Parsis call out “May Ahriman! the evil spirit be 
broken”. It is dangerous to yawn lest a Bhuta may go down the throat 
Hence people snap their thumbs and fingers in the hope of recalling his soul, 
or as others explain, to scare away the demon who might be entering the 
mouth of the yawner. 

Twitching of the right eye is lucky for males and of the left unlucky 
and various rules are prescribed for interpreting the twitching of the lids 
and eyes. The converse is said to hold good in the of a female. 

Bhutas may also enter the body through the feet or hands. At mar- 
riage the feet of the bride-groom and sometimes those of the brides® are 
carefully washed because he or she may have brought some strange Bhutas 
or other pollution from outside. Drinking water with which the feet of the 
holy man have been washed communicates with it their holiness to the 
drinker. It is known as Caranamrta. 

The ears can also be an entry for Bhutas, and one explanation of the 
practice of ear-piercing at an early age is that it is done as a protection 
against the incoming of the evil spirits. Occasionally among Hindus the 
ears of boys are pierced with the object of producing a blot of imperfection, 
or to ascribe them to girl class, who are less liable to the attacks of the Evil Eye 
or demons. The bride-groom shooting an arrow through the space under the 
bride’s arm-pit or piercing the ear is illustrated by a story in Samalbhatt’s 

49. Indian Antiquary, Vol. XXXII, 342f. n. 

50. As In Omharar^a ; ‘ TO 

^ injlf ’ 



‘Vetala Pacini* '* With the provision of a temporary home of the spirit 
we may compare the cycle of beliefs known as the * Life-Index \ In the 
folk-tales it appears as a bird, an insect, a plant, or even a necklace. 

Many of the rites performed with the intention of promoting the 
fertility of human beings, domestic animals and crops can also be traced in 
the social life of Gujarat. Sympathetic magic of various forms is employed 
for this purpose. Water being the prime giver of fertility, bathing is always 
prescribed as a cure for barrenness. The hair of a mother of a large family 
or a child is secured by a barren woman in the hope that the quality of 
fertility may be transferred to her from the owner of the hair. Many 
marriage-rites are performed with the same intention. One of the most 
common of the fertility charms is to fill the bride’s lap with a bunch of fruits 
and vegetables. The anointing of the bride and bride-groom with oil is an 
important ceremony and it is a general custom that some of the condiment 
rubbed on the bride is sent to the bridegroom, and vice versa, the object be- 
ing to produce communion between the pair. The sacred turmeric’s colour, 
suggests ripe grain; and the object of Plthl is thus to fertilize bride and 
bridegroom, as well as to protect them from malignant spirits. 

Deities which promote fertility — ^both male and female — are provided 
with consorts. The marriage of Siva and Parvati is a favourite subject in 
Indian sculpture, a notable example being that in the caves at Elephanta. 
The ‘TulasJ Vivaha’ celebrated in Gujarat is believed to be a similar rite. 
The problems of agriculture are accompanied by various magical riles 
intended to promote the fertility of the crops and to protect them from 
malignant spirits. 

In Gujarat during the autumnal feast various kinds of grain, especially 
barley, are worshipped in honour of the Mother Goddess, some earth being laid 
in the family chapel and on its surface the grains are dropped. The earth is 
kept moistened and on the tenth day the sprouts (^, qr^TTf?: ; 3^. ‘ ^ 0 
worshipped. The vow of the ‘Gauri-pujana’ or the *Molakat Vrata’ is 
observed by Gujarati girls on the sixth day of Asadha when they fill 

51. Bfhat Kdvya Dohana, Part. Vll, page 555 : Seventh story. 

52. Cf. The prayer of Vi^aya in Candrahdsa Akhydna by Nakar (Brhat Kdvya 
De/iana, Pt. VIII, page 523); 

wri ! wm 

■ff *it^ ww ! »7R. 

And bUo see “ ”, in ValUbha-bhatV* famous poem. 



earthen dishes with loose soil mixed with dry powdered cowdung; and in 
this, they sow wheat or barley seeds, so that they sprout when the girls 
remain sitting in one place and eat nothing flavoured with salt. This is the 
* Alund-vrata ' which was observed by Usa (as related to us by Premanand) 
in order to secure a suitable husband. Even males wear these sprouts in the 
turbans on the Dasera holiday. 

The festivals intended to protect and to promote the fertility of cattle 
form a group of their own. The Govardhana puja day associated with the 
legends of Krsna, the Gopls and the flock of cows has come to be observed 
in Gujarat after the spread of Valabhi Vaisnavism. ^‘Akbar who was fond 
of patronising rural cults, had arranged that on the day of Divaii, on 
which the Hindus worship the cow several cows were adorned and brought 
before his Majesty.'’ 

The use of the first-fruits of the harvest is carefully regulated, be- 
cause all that is new is sacred or taboo, not to be touched by man until the 
taboo is removed by certain ceremonies. In the same way, doing anything 
for the first time, a rite de passage such as entering a new state like puberty 
or marriage is fraught with danger. Hence the eating of first-fruits is often 
accompanied by the dedication of the part of the produce to the Higher 
Powers. Some high caste Hindus celebrate the festival known as ^ Navanna 
Purnima ', the full-moon-day of the new corn — that immediately follows the 
Dasera. It was known in ancient times as Agrayanesti — ^first fruits’ rites. 

The belief in the danger resulting from the Evil Eye known as ‘ JVazar’ 
referred specially to the baneful influence emanating from the glance of 
certain classes of people. The popular explanation of the origin of this be- 
lief is that it is based on envy or covetousness. Manu has classed a one- 
eyed person with others who are to be carefully avoided, possibly because 
the glance of such a person is more concentrated than that of the ordinary 
people.'* The evil eye is generally believed to be the result of magic or 
witchcraft such as overlooking, cursing, bewitching or the like. The peacock 
with the semblance of eyes in the feathers of its tail is supposed to possess 
the power of averting evil eye. 

One method of avoiding the evil eye was to make on the person likely 
to be affected, a mark which acts as a disguise or prophylactic. Many people 
in Gujarat, with this object, put lamp-black on the children’s eye and even 
cheeks, a device which serves the practical purpose of protecting them 

53. Ain-i*Akhari, I, page 216. 

54. Manu Smrti, Adh. HI, Si. 156. 



from Sun-glare.® Domestic animals like horses and cattle are protected by 
having beads or cowry-shells round their necks. 

A man^s name is part of his personality and a recital of those of the 
deities has special influence in a mystical religion like the Hindu. 
Hence the name and age are to be concealed, the reason being that the 
knowledge of age coupled with that of the sign of the Zodiac under which a 
person was born, will give his enemies a chance of working black magic 
against him. All the Moghul Emperors and other Musalman Kings had at 
least three names; and accordingly the date of Akbar^s birth was concealed 
and he was given a new name at his circumcision. '' A Hindu woman will 
not name her husband;’ 

Iron is used in many forms as an amulet. It is said that stools 
required in religious ceremonies must have no nail or other iron in them; 
for, iron frightens away not only bad but even good spirits. Gold and silver 
are protectives. Jewels were probably amulets before they became 
ornaments. Hindus consider all alloys impure, and do not use them for 
religious purposes. 

Gems and precious stone.s from the sea are also used as protectives. In 
Gujarat a coral ring is worn to obviate the evil influence of the Sun, pos- 
sibly on account of its reddish colour. The conch-shell is used in waking 
the God in his temple and in summoning his worshippers and in scaring away 
demons and other evil influences from the offerings. Precious stones have 
similar value. In a special combination, the nine jewels — ‘ Nava ratna ’ — have 
special protective powers. 

Beads, partly on account of the material from which they are made 
and partly from the fact that they are perforated, which suggests that they 
may be occupied by spirits, are valued as protective. Women wear neck- 
laces called the ' Mafigala Sutra ’ consisting of a Gold Ball and some black 
glass-beads, hence called the ‘Kali Kanthl’. Some beads have special 
religious associations like the Rudraksa, Rudra being the Vedic storm-god. 
Vaisnavas wear beads made of the wood of the Tulasi or holy basil sacred 
to Visnu. * 

55. Vide Dayaram— “ oraftancit H i 


56. Vincent Smith : Akbar, page 18. 

57. Akho : % S’?! g 

b mm 



Rosaries have special magical power, and the number of the beads 
varies with the religion and the sect. Saivas are having usually 32 or 
double that number, Vaisnavas 108.“ Rosaries however first came to be 
used to count up the number of prayers that were enjoined to be recited a 
number of times. The shortening process of prayers went on to such a 
stage when only the first words were repeated : Ultimately a stage was reach- 
ed by the laity, when even the recital of any scriptural word whatsoever 
was dropped, and simply the turning of beads was continued as a part of 
one’s religious life. It was this stage of the ‘Japa Mala* that was ridiculed 
and attacked downright by protestant poets like Akho.''' 

Salt, owing to its preservative power, exercises protective effects. The 
sister of the bridegroom sitting near him and waving a cup of salt over his 
head, does so to keep off the Evil Eye. The ceremony is known as 

Colours play an important part in rites of projective magic. In the 
wedding-rite the eyes of the pair are smeared with lamp-black. The black 
colour is also ominous, signifying mourning, widowhood etc. Red and yellow, 
symbolical of fertility, are the marriage-colours. Fruits such as mangoes, fig 
and lemon growing in bunches arc used as protcctivos. Musalmans have 
adopted lemon as a protective, from Hindus.*’* 

Sometimes branding is believed to bring a pcr.son under the protection 
of a god, as the Vaisnavas brand themselves with a Cakra and a Sankha, the 
emblems of Visnu; and persons on pilgimage used to get themselves branded 
at a holy place as a protective and as a sign that they had visited the god. The 
incident of one poet-saint Narbheram (early 19th Century V. S.), who had 
been to Dwarka on pilgrimage and was asked to pay the tax for branding, 
while the Jogis and the ascetics were not charged, has given us very powerful 
songs, commemorating this branding custom.*' Charms and amulets, with 

58. Vide, Dr. J. J. Modi : “ The Prayer-Beads or Rosaries ', Auihropologicul Papers 
Partll.pp. 92-109 (1913). 

59. sm-TTToSPrt ^ ” 


60. Bhalana^s Rdma-hdlallla. * * 

61. Crooke, Folk-lore of Northern Indiay page 296, 

62. “ iTig 3?i> #nr3i,— 

sn ^ iiFc 

See also, Premanand : Kximvarhdi nxi Mdmeru, 



Maiitras and Spells kept in metal-cases or inscribed on metal or other tails- 
mans, were used to scare away evil eye; so, the claws, teeth, fat and moustaches 
of a lion, tiger or leopard communicated courage and strength to the wearer.*" 

One of the most powerful protectives is the magic-circle, a line drawn 
round a person or a thing which bars the entry of malevolent Spirits or other 
forms of evil.*" There are constant references in the folk-tales to the custom 
of drawing such lines round places which are taboo as in the performance of 
the rites of Black Magic or to keep out witches and evil Spirits. Samalbhatt’s 
“Panca Danda” story abounds in references to this drawing of lines by the 
magic-wand called the ‘ Danda *, creating* marvels. The magical power of 
the circle appears also in the ring. The marriage bracelet carries with it 
the hard fruit of Madana a plant sacred to Kama, God of Love; 

its presence will save either of them from the ravages of passion during the 
next eight or ten days; she may w^ear this fruit on her wrist three times 
during her life — at her wedding, when .she conceives, and when she dies 
leaving her husband to mourn her/' 

Strings and knots serve as protection and have many magical powers. 
The sacred cord (yainopavita) of a Dvija, the KubU of the Parsls and the 
string of the sacred Kusa grass round the waist of a Jaina boy at the initia- 
tion are the common phases of the same string or knot which serve as pro- 
tection. In the same class is the ‘Raksa ' — the thread tied on the w^rist in the 
month of Sravana, the most unhealthy season of the year, when malarious 
fever, ascribed to spirit agency, is ripe. An expectant mother is invested with 
similar thread in the fifth month of her pregnancy in order to ward off the 
Evil Eye, illness, and the spells of other jealous women.“ The siring as a 
symbol of union is used in the marriage rites. The Kahkana-dora or the 
strings round the bracelets of the wedded pair are, after the ceremony is 

63. S’?"! : vrm- 

64. Compare, the line that was drawn by Lak^mana with the end of the bow, 
protecting Sita as long as she was inside the boundary line : — 

5IFI, ^ 

— f ‘ ’• 

65. Mrs. Stevenson : Rites of the Twice-born, page 65. 

66. aiRTC 50^ : 

^ ?r w, wn# d ’’ — 



over,*" untied. The use of knots or knotted strings in protective wiggip is 
common, e. g., Hanumana’s, Kalabhairava’s, etc." 

The peasant under the influence of his religious beliefs and his physi- 
cal environments is constitutionally a pessimist as observed above. He 
naturally mixes up the known and the unknown, the knowable and the un- 
knowable, and invents a ‘pseudo-science’, which he believes has its roots 
in actual experience, like his knowledge, often considerable and well-founded, 
of the weather and seasons in relation to his field and herds. Its extension 
10 the field of astrology by his study of omens depended on the interpreta- 
tion of dreams, omens and predictions of the astrologer. Hence the 
astrologer and diviner are well recognised in village life. Generally they 
were low-class Brahmans known as ‘ Garo^as ’. ”* The Hindu peasant con- 
sults the JoshI for lucky times for a marriage, the cultivation of his crops, 
or any other enterprise which he proposes to undertake. Morning is the 
time when the nervous system is at its highest point of tension and the 
imagination is most readily impressed. Hence men take anxious precautions 
that the first object they see on waking may be auspicious. The rules about 
lucky and unlucky persons and objects are not always consistent; but it 
seems to be generally regarded as auspicious to see a sweeper removing 
filth and a dancing girl because she can never become a widow. An oil- 
man and a washerman are very inauspicious probably because their work 
is dirty. 

67. Marriage songs incorporated in poems like Devidas’s Rukmini Harana (Samvat 

1660), and Premanahda’s Okha-harana (Samvat 1739) : 

" 't. ” 

^ »iis, V' 

68. Vailabha's Subhadrdharar}.a : 

“ ^1% ^ ^ srl^, 'N stRRT 51 fl, 

5^1 fel d f#, 

SCSI >^141 «R, f w 

^ 'fit f? 515R^ ^ ^ ii%.” 

G9. Vide, Protests of poets on this point 

(>) it %?r.’ 

(!i ) ‘ *9) ^51, iR«tit ^ ^dr. ’ 

— fwirn’i. 

(3) “ifirsRs qgtw% ?i5 5ii$t m'l. 

JirM ’id, RyNl : 

51 Jiddirr Jintt. ’ 



Mystic qualities are ascribed to numbers for astrological or astrono* 
mical reasons, many of which are obscure. ‘ 5 ’ is specially lucky, because 
of the Pahcayatana gods; and caste-council is also called ‘Pancayat’. ‘7 ' is 
also lucky. Generally odd numbers are lucky all over the world. ‘ 13 ’ is an 
unlucky number in India as well as in Europe, and the reason usually 
assigned is that it is based on the intercalary month ITW)™ Marriage- 
time falls naturally in spring, because it is the time of joy, fertility and 
fecundity. The rainy season is the worst time for travelling and hence 
it is banned for marriage. There are many rules and much variance of 
usage about lucky and unlucky days for travelling and .starting other 
enterprises. ” 

The worship of material objects prevails among the people of Gujarat, 
believing that the object is occupied by some spirit. In the Vedas, we meet 
with references to the worship of weapons and implements like the plough 
and plough-share. The worship of stones is of special importance, because 
in the great alluvial plains a stone is unusual and therefore an uncanny 
object. Nearly every village has a Stone, which for various reasons is held 
sacred. Unhewn stones are specially venerated, probably because the act 
of chiselling may disturb the indwelling Spirit. Some of the most famous 
Lingas are known as Svayarhhhu — existing spontaneously, because they are 
uncouth and retain their primitive sanctity. 

The special class of stones known as ' Paliyas ’ or ‘ Khambhis ’, are 
erected in memory of those dead of violence, of martyrs and of persons 
eminent for their holiness. In Saurastra, these stones are found at the 
entrance of nearly every village, they being erected in honour of man and 
woman of the Carana tribe who performed Tragd or self-immolation to 
protect the village or to recover its cattle from the predatory Ka^his and other 
enemies. On the stone, the name of the victims, the date of their deaths and 
the reason for the performance of Traga were recorded, the men shown 
on horseback wounding themselves with swords or spear and the women 

70. Radha’s Bara Masa*. 

“aiftifi in?! ^ gqfqr 

71. Cf. words put in the mouth of Sahadeva by Preman and in Naldkhyana (Canto 
1. 13. 14) ; 

« %5i. 

Sira ^ 5:^3 «iig; 

«K5P?, w Is Ri?rg. " 




piercing their arms with knives. This sort of hero-worship is found in all 
nations at all ages and stages of civilization. In course of time it develops 
into different tangible and material attempts to honour them. 

It is believed that the stability inherent in a stone is communicated to 
those who sit on it or touch it. In the Vedic age the biidegroom caused the 
bride to mount a stone, formally grasped her hand and led her round the 
household fire. In later custom.*!, the bride approaches the stone erected in 
the marriage-tower and touches it with her foot, or the bridegroom stooping 
down takes the bride’s great toe in his hand and with it touches the stone. 
(The Vedic Mantra is I). In the same class are the marks of 

foot-prints of deities or saints on stones. Dattatreya’s foot-prints on Mt. 
Girnar and on Mt. Abu, and Ranachhodrai’s foot-prints on the outskirts 
of Dakore, are held sacred. 

Among wrought stones, the grind-stone is naturally a symbol of ferti- 
lity, and as such it is used in the marriage and birth-rites,” The bride’s 
mother shows the groom a small model of a plough and a spinning needle, a 
pounder of corn, and a churn-handle, at the same time pulling his nose, possi- 
bly to expel evil. The symbols suggest things of sustenance which the mother- 
in-law wishes the bride-groom to strive after and secure them in the married 
life. Ample corn duo to plough, good clothes woven from hand-spun cotton 
and abundance of milk and ghee by the churn-handle, — these are things that 
are held out for the prospective house-holder.” 

The winnowing fan or scoop is often used in magical rites, as well as 
in marriage ceremonies. Brahmanas in Gujarat, on the tenth day after a 
birth, lay a boy-child on a wooden slate so that he may become a learned man, 
but a girl is placed in a winnowing pan, that she may grow up clever in dome- 
stic ways, of which cleaning the grain is one of the most important, — a 
characteristic Brahmana interpretation.” The broom derives its sanctity 
from its use in purification and the expulsion of evil spirits. It is found in 
one of the hands of iSitala, the goddess of hygiene. 

The Pestle and Mortar and the pounder with which rice is husked have 
a phallic and fertilizing significance and are therefore \ised in marriage rites. 

72. Cf. marri.ige son ;s like ; ‘ W 
73 Pifimamncl, Ofckdkoraya (C!nto44): 

“ 3m, g rtag -ltd? 'i, 

m arpTf, V. 8!^ 
sTf 3iwt, g >?il3 

*ir 3JRI, m g f4«i3 5i^ ” 

74. Mis. St. venson, Hites of the Twice-born^ page 265. 



Weapons are emblems of power. A sword is worshipped at the 
Navaratri festival. Rajaputs present the sword from for the 
absent bridegroom, and the bride is married to it, as his representative. 
The custom probably originated in a desire for secrecy and as a means of 
avoiding danger to the youth due to his visiting a strange clan, the members 
of which may resist his taking away the bride. Also it might have origi> 
nated for the sake of convenience in some cases and in some as a means of 
reducing marriage-expenses. Tools and implements used in crafts of the 
goldsmith, ironsmith, a carpenter or a mason are also venerated. The Vakt- 
Pujana or ledger-worship in front of the image of Goddess Laksml is also 
the worship of a material object. 

The attitude of the peasant towards the animal world around is mark- 
edly inconsistent with some people. He pays much respect to the cow; but 
he uses the ox cruelly, yoking it to a plough when its shoulders are pain- 
fully galled.'^ Still it is believed that animals have much the same feelings 
and passions as human beings. These are illustrated in the folk-tales which 
are told not to amuse children in nursery, but as narratives to be implicitly 
believed and recognised by grown-ups. 

Horse is naturally revered by a race of warriors. Clay-images of 
horses are often found at the Village Shrines where they serve as equipage 
of the godlings; and Hindus hanged little images of horses made of saw-dust 
near the Sitala-mata temple’" or on the grave of some Musalman saint. 

The dog was probably the earliest animal domesticated by man, and 
hence, on the one hand he ranks as a friendly companion of the owner, while 
he is also degraded as a foul beast — the eater of corpses ! In Persia the 
Parsls are said to have adopted the Musalman view of the dog and they shrink 
from it, while the original belief was that he was one of the good things 
created by Ahuramazda. But the Indian Parsis bring the dog into close 
connection with the dead. Respect for the dog is naturally most common 
among the hunting and pastoral tribes. 


75. A poem by Kavi Nathji (Sarhvat 1692) published in Buddhiprakdsa (1906) on 
page 224 : 

“ *iK«lr a ^ 51 

tiwr WBwr ? 

TO tun ! ” 

76. An illustration of this event 1 . paintoi by Rasikla’ Parikh, a Gujarati artist, 
named ‘ 



Devotion to the cow is a predominant feature in Hinduism. The 
veneration of the cow begins with its domestication in the pastoral stage 
and then on its value as a producer of milk and of the ox as a plough-animal. 
The use of * Pancagavya ’ — the five products got from a cow — in public and 
domestic rites, gain for it the support of Brahmanas. The worship of the 
cow is part of many Hindu rites. In the ^ govrata ’ pious women offer 
sweetmeats to the cow, mark her forehead with saffron and then break their 
fast. The bull as a type of courage, strength and virility became, in the 
form of Nandi, associated with Siva, a god of fertility. Basava (Vrsahha), 
the bull, was the traditional founder of the Lingayata sect, a movement 
opposed to Brahmanism in the Deccan. The ox is venerated at the Akhairlja 
festival, falling on Vaisakha sukla Tritiya, the beginning of the ploughing 
season, and is painted, decorated and presented with special food. The builds 
holiday is a ‘Bola Cotha’, fourth of the dark fortnight of Sravana, when 
women fast till they have worshipped him. 

The buffalo, due to its black colour, brutish appearance and dangerous 
temper, naturally typifies death, and is the vehicle of Yama. Devi has 
gained the title ‘Mahisamardini’, the destroyer of the Buffalo-demon, and 
thus a he-buffalo is a victim often sacrificed to Mother Goddesses. 

The cult of serpent-worship is based on fear for them. The snake is 
dreaded on account of its stealthy habits and deadly bites. Its habit of 
haunting houses suggests that it is the abode of the spirits of the dead and 
its periodically changing of skin suggests its renewal of life from time to 
time. The image of a Naga is worshipped in Gujarat on the bright fifth of 
the Sravana 'With offerings of milk, water, Durvd grass and flowers, the 
worshipper observing a fast. The race of the Nagas appears throughout the 
legend and folk-belief. In artistic representations they appear as snakes 
with upper part of their heads crowned with serpents’ hoods while the lower 
part of their bodies from the legs downwards is purely animal. In Brahmin 
families in Gujarat, women draw with sandal-wood and vermilion figures of 
snakes on the Naga Pancami festival, and worship them. There is a socio- 
religious folk-tale wherein Naga favours an orphan* girl because of her 
devotion. The Ardmasobhd caupdi is a Jaina version of this folk-tale. 

The worship of trees and plants as objects of awe and wonder based 
on the mystery of their growth, supposes an indwelling spirit in them which 
accounts for their use. From their fertilising powers, trees are closely 
associated with marriage. The vegetation of the varieties of the fig — Vada, 
Pipal, Uihbar and Gular — is universal. The Banyan tree with its serial roots 
represents the matted hair of Siva. Devoted wives worship it at the full- 



moon with the object of lengthening the lives of their husbands and children, 
as in the tale of Satyavana and Savitrl. 

I^e Pipal tree is worshipped when a boy is invested with a sacred 
thread, at marriage and when the foundation of a house is laid. The plan* 
tain, from its vigorous growth in bunches, is naturally an emblem of fertility. 
Leaves of it are hung on the marriage-shed and a branch is placed near the 
host and holy fire, round which the pair marches. The mango, groves of which 
are found in most villages in the plains, is valued for its valuable fruits and 
pleasant shade. In the .spring the young leaves and buds typify Madana, 
God of Love, and they are offered in the worship of Siva in the month of 
Magha and of Krsna in Phalguna. A branch is often planted in the centre 
of the wedding booth. 

The Tulasl or holy basil is one of the things sacred to Vi?nu. Its sanc- 
tity probably depends on the aromatic nature of its leaves and its frequent 
use in nature-medicine. Many legends have been invented to account for 
the veneration paid to it. The wedding rites of the Tulasi, performed at the 
opening of the cold season, is the signal for Hindus to begin their marriage 
season. The Tulasi is often planted on the top of a little masonry-pillar 
near the house when women tend it and pour over it the water in which 
Saligrama has been bathed. 

The harmless or benevolent forms of Magic — sympathetic, homeopathic, 
contagious— which are designed to avert the influence of evil spirits and/or 
the evil eye or to promote the fertility of human beings, animals and crops, 
have been mentioned above. They are not only tolerated but encouraged, 
being performed for worthy objects and in the general interest of the commu- 
nity. ‘Black Magic’, as it is popularly called, is of a different type; it is 
employed for anti-social ends, for evil purposes such as the destruction of 
enemies, the promotion of quarrels and the like. On the whole, black magic 
is antagonistic to orthodox Brahmanism, though it is sometimes tolerated 
particularly by those who follow the Tantric school or adopted by priest- 
hood. The Jaina Yatis in Gujarat are generally accused, and with some 
truth in it, for indulging in this black magic." 

Among the later religious movements in Gujarat after the Mutiny, 
may be mentioned the Protestant revolt of the Arya Samaja headed by 

77. Cf. ^ , 

and Surabhatt • 


^ jp. ’ 



Swam! Dayananda, who hailed from Tahkara, a port near Morbi in 
Saura^tra. This was preceded by the founding of the Prarthana Samaja at 
Ahmedabad. The philosophical sects headed by Nrsiihhacarya, Sriman 
Natthurama Sarma and others are beyond the scope of our argument. 

VIII. Fire-worshippers 

The white H&nas in the late 5th or early centuries of the Christian era 
brought with them the cults of the Sun and Fire; and their priests were 
absorbad into Hinduism under the name of ‘Maga Brahmins’.*' Parsis, who 
migrated from Persia when that country was occupied by the Arabs in the 
8th century, brought their sacred fire with them. But they claim to be strict 
monotheists and indignantly repudiate the title of * fire-worshippers ’.** The 
ancestors of the Hindus and Parsis at one time belonged to the same race, 
spoke the same language, worshipped the same deities, and observed iden- 
tical rituals, customs and ceremonies. 

The chief cause of the schism and of the subsequent separation of the 
two communities was some difference or dispute about the mode of worship 
in connection with the principal deity, viz., the God of Light and the God of 
Fire. After their separation the two communities became inveterate foes 
and began to hate and despise one another. They changed their respective 
language, customs and the attributes of their deities. The separation 
appears to have taken place about the time when the word ‘ Asura ’ began to 
assume the sense of evil in the hymns of the Rg-Veda. Iran or the country of 
the Parsis was invaded and subdued several times by the Indo- Aryan Princes 
such as Raghu, Partha and others. Similarly portions of India such as 
Sindh and Peshawar were for some time under the rulers of Iran. These 
circumstances tended to establish mutual intercourse and the exchange of 
mutual culture and civilization. The first colony of the Parsis in India 
was that of the Maga priests from Sakadvipa or Scistan. They became 
assimilated with the Hindu population; stories were invented in the Puranas 
about their great sanctity; and eventually they were raised to the position 
of high-caste Brahmins. They were styled as ‘Maga’ or ‘Bhojaka’ 
Brahmins and they alone were declared to be fit to c(V)secrate the temples 
of the God of Light." 


Parsis regard Fire as the emblem of refulgence, glory and light, the 
truest symbol of God, the noblest, most excellent and most useful of God’s 

78. Bom. Gaz., IX, Part I, page 439 fn. 

79. Religion and folk-lore of Northern India by W. C. Crooke, page 334. 

80. Vide, R. B. P. B. Joshi’s paper on "Side-Upkta on the pant history of Parsis”, J. B, 
B, R. A. S.,Vol.XXVI. 



creations; and its purity is enhanced by the rights performed at its instal- 
lation. The Pire-altar is known as Agiari (Sanskrt Agni-Agara; Pralqrit 
AggiAydra), and all fire-temples are known as such. The history of the 
sacred fire after it was re-established on Indian soil is described in records 
of Parsis and the facts of their immigration in Gujarat, they being promised 
refuge by the Yadava King Jadi Rana. Among Parsis, eating and drinking 
are considered as religious acts and fasting and penance are forbidden. All 
holidays are spent in feasting, rejoicing and prayer. 

Though theirs is not a missionary religion they seem to have been 
anxious to make converts. In 1578 at the request of the Emperor Akbar 
they sent learned priests both from Navsari and from Kirman in Persia to 
explain the Zoroastrian faith. They found Akbar a ready listener and a 
willing believer and taught him their peculiar terms, ordinances, rites and 
ceremonies. Perpetual fire was made to be kept in the Palace, night and 
day; for fire was one of the signs of God and one light from among the many 
lights of His creation. Akbar, according to the Portuguese accounts, was 
invested with the sacred shirt and girdle, and in return, granted the Gujarat 
priest Meherji Rana an estate at Navsari. It is gratifying to note that the 
two creeds which had the most influence upon Akbar’s mind from 1578 to 
his death in 1605 were Jainism and Zoroastrianism, the priests of both 
hailing from Gujarat. 

The Parsis, the followers in India of Zoroaster (Zarathus^ra) were 
the descendants of the ancient Persians emigrated to India on the conquest of 
their country by the Arabs in the 8th or the 9th Century. They first landed 
at Sanjan on the coast of Gujarat where the Hindu ruler received them 
hospitably. To this day their vernacular language is Gujarati; and their 
Sanskpt writings being the old translations of Avesta and Pahlavi texts are 
also accompanied with Old Gujarati renderings thereof for the common man. 
A Parsi colony had settled at Navsari as early as 1142 A. U., but the main 
immigration came about 1520 A. D., when the Parsis were driven out of 
Sanjan by Mahomed£q}s. 

One Ako Adhyaru, a Parsi priest is reputed to have composed 16 
verses in Sanskpt in Sragdkard metre, purporting to intrtduce the Yadava 
king to the introduction of the Parsis regarding their religious beliefs and 
their general observance of social moral code. The line ‘ifpj 

I ’ is the refrain of these verses : “Who are they that 

a day adore the sun and the elemental five (fire, aether, wind, 
earth and water) which exist eternal in the three worlds, and who, wor- 



ship the Divine Hormuz or King of Angels, full of justice, power and 
mercy ? — They are the fair, the fearless, valiant and athletic Parsis 

IX. The Islam 

The desert conditions of Arabia and the nomadic and pastoral life of 
its population gave Islam its true character. There yet lingered in Arabia 
to a very considerable extent the old nature’s worship; and many of the rites 
and beliefs of this older type of religion had its influence on Mahomad. 

Mahomad was an ardent believer in immortality, though his paradise 
has in it too many sensual pleasures to make it wholly attractive to men of 
a high ethical temper. Much of the old Arabian animism and fetishism 
clung to his teaching as was natural in such an environment as his. In two 
respects at least the moral teaching of Mahomad was sound in that he 
abolished gambling and drinking. In respect to woman his attitude was far 
less advanced, for he regarded her as largely a mere instrument of man’s 
pleasure and his servant. He supported polygamy and permanently fastened 
it upon his religion. He did abolish infanticide and especially that of girls, 
which had been very common in the Arabia preceding his time. He incul- 
cated honour to parents and he gave emphasis to the spirit of toleration. 

Allah is a magnificent despot. The angels that throng about Him are 
those of a splendid court, with the ranks of one above another and its auto- 
cratic tendencies in all directions. Very distinctly materialistic is the heaven 
and the hell of Mahomad. “ Mahomad’s teachings in regard to the resurrec- 
tion of the body, probably taken over from his religious predecessors, is most 
materialistic, the actual body being that which survives the grave. The 
whole substance of the creed of Mahomad is that God is one and that 
Mahomad is his prophet. The accusation often made that Islam is sensuous 
and materialistic, almost exclusively, is not justified in regard to some of its 
more ethical and spiritual developments. In the teachings of Sufis and in 
their poetry, highly mystical as they were, may be found many a phase of 
noble religious import. 

81. Vide, ‘Collected Sanskrt Writings of the Parsis’ Paft IV, (1933) edited by 
E. S. D. Bharucha and M. P. Khareghat, I.C.S. 

# 95gopif<jjpi ?ril^ ms i 

%r g4Ki ’tjwfimi# ^ ii i w 

82. An important consideration in judging the early Mahomedan idea of ‘Para- 
dise ’ is a social, economic and especially geographical environment of the 
people. What was rare in Arabian life would be what was most desired in 
the after life, e. g. rivers, gardens, trees, fruits and other comforts. 



Islam is in every respect the antithesis of Hinduism. Its idea is 
strenuous action rather than hypnotic contemplation; it allots man a single 
life and bids him make the best of it. , Its practical spirit knows nothing of 
a series of transmigration, of Karma, of the weariness of existence which 
weighs upon the Hindu mind. On its social side the religion of Mahomad is 
equally opposed to the Hindu scheme of a hierarchy of castes, an elaborate 
stratification of society based upon subtle distinctions of food, drink, dress, 
marriage and ceremonial usage. In the sight of God and His prophet all 
followers of Islam are equal. In India, however, caste is in the air; its con- 
tagion has spread even to the Mahomedans; and we find its evolution pro- 
ceeding on characteristically Hindu lines. “In both communities foreign 
descent forms the highest claim to social distinction; in both, promotion 
cometh from the West. As the twice-born Aryan is to the mass of Hindus 
so is the Mahomedan of alleged Arab, Persian, Afgan or Monghol origin to 
the rank and file of his co-religionists. And just as in the traditional Hindu 
system men of the higher groups could marry women of the lower, while the 
converse process was vigorously condemned, so, within the higher ranks of 
Mahomedans a Saiyad will marry a Shaikh’s daughter but will not give his 
daughter in return.”®’ 

Religions oppoised like Hinduism and Mahomedanism could not amal- 
gamate without losing their identities, because, in fact, Muslim faith connoted 
an opposite culture. It meant for the Hindus religious persecution, forced 
conversion, cruelty to women, and a life of sensuous pleasures. Such a 
culture would therefore be obviously antagonistic to the naturally non-inter- 
fering, peace-loving, and quite passive character of the Hindus. The Hindus 
were willing to allow others their own religious beliefs, and were even so 
passive as not to feel oppressed with political subjection if the rulers did 
not interfere with their religious beliefs and customs. 

We have already referred to the earliest existence of Mahomedans in 
Gujarat since the middle of the 7th century. The first to arrive were the 
Arabs, the sailors and the soldiers of the Bagdad fleets who came to plunder 
and conquer the Gujerat coasts. The next to come were traders from the 
Persian Gulf who were encouraged by the Rajaput kings of Anahilvad to 
settle in the country. After the conquest of Gujarat by Allauddin upto the 
end of the 18th Century, foreign Musalman soldiers, traders, missionaries 
and refugees kept flocking into Gujarat both by land and sea. The Sultans of 
Gujarat were zealous in propagating the faith of Islam and defending it; and 
so many learned divines, sages and men of righteousness from various 

y3. Imperial Gazetteer I, p. 329. 



places were invited with all honour to settle in this land and they were given 
generous stipends and royal patronage. Some of them yearning to preach 
to the people came over of their own Record and settled here, pleased by the 
reverential attitude of the Sultans towards religious heads. “Hence all sorts 
of men, noble Saiyads, great Suhs, respected Ullemas, and adventurous 
traders of different countries— Arabia, Persia, Syria, Rum, Sindh and 
Hindustan — came from time to time and settled here, attracted by the bene* 
ficence, equity and piety of its rulers. 

Of these missionaries the most important was Abdulla who founded in 
the 11th century the sect of the Shiah Vorahs. Among other distinguished 
missionaries may be mentioned Imam Shah of Pirana who made many con- 
verts from the Kapbi and other artisan castes. The forcible conversion of 
people to Sunnism, by the Ahmadabad Sultans, principally Sultan Ahmad, 
Mahomad Begda and Mahomad II, as well as the Mughal Emperors Jahangir 
and Aurangzeb, was accompanied by persecution. The existence of two 
distinct classes of Mahomedans is an illustration of the fact that in Gujarat 
Shiahism was spread by persuasion of preachers and Sunnism by the power 
ef Rulers. Though the well-defined clear-cut monotheism of Islam is much 
less favourable to the growth of sects, there is polytheistic, eclectic 
Hinduism at the bottom. In Islam the sects were as numerous as those of 
the Hindus or Christians, the sectarian movement usually following one of 
the two lines, viz., it was either puritanical or pietistic. 

The Hindus and Mahomedans had lived side by side for so many cen- 
turies that they had naturally learnt to tolerate and unconsciously imbibed 
each other’s social customs, common beliefs, and even superstitious rites, and 
the process must have begun long before the conquest of India by Babar and 
his immediate successors. Towards the Tughlaq period, the Mahomedans of 
India had earned such a notoriety for their heathenish practice among co- 
religionists outside India that Timur regarded his invasion of India as a real 
'Jehad for, according to him, most of the Indian Mohamedans were no 
better than heathens. In the Mal/uzat-i-Timuri we read that his expedi- 
tion was directed mainly against the infidels and poly^eists of India, who 
called themselves Musalmfins but had strayed from the Mahomedan fold.” 
In the rural districts, Islam had been largely, affected by its Hindu environ- 
ment. If it had gained some converts from Hinduism, it had borrowed from 
it many of those practices which distinguish it from the original faith of 
Arabia. By degrees the fervent enthusiasm of the early raiders was softened 

84. Mirat-i-Ahmadl, Supplement, page 121. 

85. Elliot and Dawson, Vol. VIII, page 426. 



down. The two religions learned to live side by side; and if the Mahomedan 
of the later days could never conceal his contempt for the faith of his 
* pagan ’ neighbovirs, he came to understand that it could not be destroyed 
by persecution. 

From the Hindus, Islam derived much of its demonology, and the belief 
in witchcraft. The conversion to Islam whenever it did occur, peacefully 
and under persuasion, was largely from the lower castes. Islam is one of the 
most democratic religions in the world, and welcomes to full franchise the 
low-caste man groaning under the contempt which meets him at the hands 
of his haughtier neighbours. 

It is stated in Futuhut~i~Firoz$hahi that “ Tantric doctrines in their 
grossest interpretation as well as ordinary idolatry, without any philosophy 
at all, found converts among credulous women. The higher teaching of the 
Vedanta, too, was not altogether lost upon the Mahomedans of India. ” 

Sufism is nothing but Vedantism in the Islamic garb, and the celebra- 
ted Shaikh Nizamuddin Aulia was suspected of Sufi leanings. Sufism, 
however, did not disappear wih him and was found to prosper in its most 
advanced form during the reign of Firuzshab in the far-off province of 
Gujarat. The Emperor tells us : “A person set himself up as a Sheikh in 
the country of Gujarat, and having got together a body of di.sciples, used to 
say * Ana-l-Hakk ’ (I am God). He commanded his disciples that when he 
used these words they were to say, ‘Thou art, Thou art’. He further said, 
‘ I am the King who dies not. ’ 

In the abovementioned ‘Ana-l-Hakk' we hear pothing but an echo of 
‘ Soham ’ (I am He) and the Hindu theory of identity and unity between 
the Creator and His creation. A book written by the Gujarat! heretic was 
burnt at the orders of the zealous Emperor; but did that root out the heresy? 
The Emperor refers to the practice of Musalman ladies going out in cities on 
festive occasions in carts and palanquins to the tombs or in large parties on 
foot. This was stopped. These heresies were due to the fact that all new 
converts were uneducated people of the lower classes who found it very 
difiicult to shake off tdeir old beliefs and customs.* 

Also many Mahomedan scholars studied Sanskji: literature and 
philosophy. The celebrated poet Amir Khusru, ‘The parrot of Hindu’, was 
a sincere and ardent admirer of both. Moreover, heredity and environment, 
after all could not be easily dismissed an^ those converted from Hinduism, 

86. “Hinduism and Mahomedan Heretics during the Pathan Period” by Dr. 
Surendrangth Sen; Oriental Conference Report (Calcutta Sessions). 



who often rose to very high positions and who intermarried in high families, 
were probable not a little responsible for the propagation of the Hindu ideas 
and introduction of Hindu customs among their new relatives and co-reli- 
gionists. This seems all the more likely when we remember that even today 
uneducated Musalmans in Gujarat, Bengal and Deccan willingly worship 
many popular Hindu Gods, and the Hindus, on their part, resort to Shrines 
of celebrated Muslim Saints with unmitigated alacrity. Even the caste 
system, as shown above, a practice opposed to the fundamental democratic 
doctrines of Islam, is recognised by many Muslims in India, due to the con- 
tactual and cultural influence of the Hindus. Thus toleration grew apace 
among the people in general, and in Bengal and Hindustan and, to some 
extent, in Gujarat. Many Mahomedan poets came forward to enrich the 
Vaisnava and other literatures to be dealt with in the succeeding chapter. 

As the Sufis*^ popularised Vedantic doctrines among Moslems, so also 
the Hindus, in their turn, made a serious endeavour, to introduce the demo- 
cratic principles of Islam into their own faith. The result of this movement 
was the Sikhism of Nanak, the Kabir Pantha and the Vaisnavism of Caitanya 
and many of the non-idolatrous and Guru-worshipping sects in India. 

A few external characteristics which are neither a philosophy nor a 
tenet, but actual living — Achdra — of the masses in Gujarat, may be mentioned. 
Hindus and Jainas pray facing the East, while Musalmans pray facing the 
West, that is towards Macca. The Hindu venerates the cow, will not, as a 
rule, kill animals, and most of them abstain from meat. The Jaina scrupu- 
lously protects animal life and never touches meat. The Musalman loathes 
the pig and the dog; but has no prejudice against any other animal. Hindus, 
Jainas, and Musalmans use tobacco but most of them reject narcotics and 
ardent spirits. Hindus and Jainas shave their heads leaving a scalp-lock, 
while Musalmans shave the head, but keep no scalp-lock and generally do 
not shave the beard. Hindus and Jainas button their coats to the right, 
Musalmans to the left. Hindus and Jainas wear Dhotis, while Musalmans 
usually put on long trousers and only occasionally a dhoti, but without 
Kachhadi or back piece. Hindus and Jainas prefer red and saffron colours 
. _ • 

87. "Sufism is a strange combination of the pantheism of the Aryan race and of 
the severe monothesim of their Semitic conquerors, and aims at leading men 
to the contemplation of spiritual things by appealing to their emotions. The 
keynote of the system is that the human soul is an emanation from God, and 
that it is always seeking and yearning to rejoin the source from which it is 
sprung. Ecstasy is the means by which a nearer intercourse is obtained and 
absorption in the divinity is the ultimate object to be attained. Quoted in 
Imp, Gaz., I, page 437. 



and dislike black; Musalmans prefer green to all others. Hindus and Jainas 
use brass-vessels, while vessels used by Musalmans are usually of copper. 
Hindus and Jainas may cook in, but may not eat out of an earthen vessel, 
which has already been once used for the purpose. A Musalman may use an 
earthen vessel over and over again, to eat from it. Musalmans, and to some 
extent some Jainas, eat together from a common dish; while Hindus use 
separate dishes for each person. 

Hindus and Jainas marry in circumambulation of the sacred fire, but 
among Musalmans formal consent of the parties is asked and given before 
witnesses. Musalmans practise circumcision, but Hindus and Jainas do not. 
Musalmans bury their dead, while the Hindus and Jainas, as a general rule, 
burn them. No Hindu or Jaina will interdine with a Musalman; a Musal- 
man will eat and drink without scruples from the hands of anybody. These 
are some of the most striking of the peculiarities in social, religious, ceremo- 
nial and communal life of the different races dwelling in Gujarat, w^ho are 
for all other purposes Gujaratis in speech, language, and other common tra- 
ditions of the land, principally in the mercantile occupation, and can easily 
be marked out from those of other provinces of India. 

The Islamic Missionaries who came over Gujarat started their work 
of conver.sion by persuasion. Saiyad Yusuf had first converted Hindu 
Luhanas in the 15th Century from Sindh. ‘ Memons ^ thence spread 
over Kaccha and Saurastra. The others who were called Khojas or * Kwajas ’ 
honourable converts ’) of the Ismailiya sect have a similar history of con- 
version. One Nura Satagar was .sent to Gujarat in 1001 A. D. whose full 
name was Nuruddin and ‘Sadguru’ — a good preceptor- -con opted into 
‘ Satagar \ One Sadrudin, an intelligent disciple of his, .studied the Hindu 
religion and in a purely missionary spirit managed to cloak his views from 
the masses, and .started his teachings by accepting and incorporating a good 
deal from the people’s beliefs. He even did not feel any scruples while 
securing his end to preach against his own religion as the following lines 
show: “Masjids, he (the future Guru) will demolish and erect Dharmasalas 
in their stead !”** • * 

He even took the help of the Hindu belief of incarnations and declared 
that, among the ten Avataras, Hazrat Ali will be the tenth ‘ avatara popu- 
larly known as * Kalki This trick on the credulity of the ignorant masses, 
mostly of the Sudra class, worked successfully. As "Bhajans’ — religiou.s 
songs — were the common forms of poetry, which were mostly composed in 

88. Vide, The Ulamie Missionaries in Guiarat, K. M. Jhaveri, 5th Gujarati Sahitya 
Parishad, Surat, (1915). 



the middle ages of religious environment, the same instrument was availed 
of by these missionaries to couch their teachings; and the language used 
was such as the men at the lower strata of the society could at once follow 
This was thus a counter-movement at preaching the common basis and 
common-ground of the two rival dogmas of Islam and Hinduism. Thus was 
preached the monotheism of Nura Satagar through ‘Bhajans’ like : “Do you 
worship at the temple of the heart, where sits God with doors thrown open ? 
If the Saints would look inwardly, they would find their own self, within 
and without; for He dwells in all and is seen by all; though He is far away 
from one, who has no eyes to see. 

The Pirana sect which has its followers both among the Hindus and 
Mahomedans has got its name from the village of Pirana, ten miles south-east 
of Ahmedabad. It is said that Imam Shah, a Shiah Islamia Saiyad, converted 
many Hindus of the Kanbi caste early in the 16th century by showing them 
miraculous powers of his faith. By bringing rain after two seasons of scarcity. 
Imam Shah was able to convert a large body of Hindu cultivators. Another 
story is that while a band of pilgrims going to bathe in Ganges passed by 
Pirana, Imam Shah performed a miracle by bringing Ganges water at hi® 
place, being astounded at which, they adopted him as their spiritual head. 
Those who were actually converted came to be known as ‘Monind’ (from 
‘ Momin ’ — ^believers) , while those not actually converted but following a half- 
Hindu, half-Musalman faith, came to be known as 'Matid’, (from Sanskrit 
rnata, opinion). They keep Ramjan fast and observe as holidays the Drasa, 
a Saint’s day. Besides the Musalman holidays these Momnas and Matias 
observe the Hindu holidays of Holi, Akhatrija, Baleva and Divali. In addi- 
tion to the Musalman ‘Nikah’ ceremony they call a Brahmin and go through 
a Hindu marriage-ceremony. Still they are strict vegetarians and do not 
use asafaetida, garlic and onions. They are called ‘ Satpantliis' and their 
sacred book is a collection of religious precepts called ‘ Siksd Patrl ’ made by 
Imam Shah, the saint of Pirana. Of course, they bury their dead. Since 
the preachings of a Ramanandl Sadhu Nirmaldas in 1880, who reminded 
them of their Hindu Kanbi origin, a Schism has been created, the Hindu- 
ised being called ‘Vaisnava Matias’. 

From among the Voras, both Daudi*and Sulemani, who were forcibly 
converted during the religious persecution wave in Gujarat, they follow 

aw ^ ftwii anv ferc. 
fR: ajRr ^ 

aipl qa tjr fegal, ^ sj^, ” 



Hazarat Shah Kayatnuddia Bava Chist!, whose Mausoleum is in EkalbfirS 
on the banks of Mahl river. The Hindu followers of the successors of this 
preacher have composed ‘Bhajans’ or 'Kaldms’ eulogising their preceptors. 
This literature was first published in the pages of * Sahitya Monthly ’ by Rio 
Bahadur Hargovinddas Kantiwala. Among these converts is found one 
Ratanbai, an illiterate woman whose Kalams are said to have been composed 
about 150 years ago. 

To attempt to say, from what has gone before in this section, that 
Hindu society remained absolutely unchanged even though it was in 
contact with the Mahomedans, is to forget history and ignore social laws. It 
was impossible that any two unlike societies in contact with each other 
can remain totally unaffected. By long contact the Hindu and the Maho- 
medan had learned to tolerate each other. The one had relaxed his ortho* 
doxy a little and the other his fanaticism. The Hindus of the lower classes 
and mostly villagers were worshipping Pirs and giving suitable offerings 
to them” : as if the 33 crores of Hindu Gods did not satisfy their fancy ! 

IX. Eclecticism 

Hinduism accepted the multiplicity of aboriginal gods, which originat- 
ed from outside the Aryan tradition, and justified them all. It brought to- 
gether into one whole all believers in god. Many sects professing many 
different beliefs live within the Hindu fold. Heresy-hunting, the favourite 
game of many religions, is singularly absent in Hinduism. The main note 
of Hinduism is one of respect and good will for other creeds. When a 
worshipper of Visnu had a feeling in his heart against a worshipper of Siva 
and he bowed before the image of Vignu, the face of the image divided itself 
in half and Siva appeared on one side and Vi^nu on the other; the two 
smiling, as one face on the bigoted worshipper, told him that Visnu and Siva 
were one.® The story is significant. 

90. Dayaram’s “ Prdbodha-b&vanl " a poem of 52 stanzas of Kv.rj,4aUa metre utilizes 
the hybrid religions stat^ of Mumna-s as an illustration of a hypocrite, who is 
neither worldly-wise nor wisely worldly— 

« ajvRia ^r, silf flj *051551 if!.. 

91. Samalbhat, who was living close to Pirapa village, wrote from personal kno\v- 
ledg.' at one place : 

“5 SIR 4lTI“t 

92. “ 5l*ra?J ^ 3t li. 

an&r ^1?: 

^ snft Ir, 5W*i ^ ” 



Worshippers ol different gods and followers of different rites were 
taken into the Hindu fold. K|:i^na, according to Bhagvadgltd, accepts as His 
own, not only the oppressed classes, women and Sudras, but even those of 
unclean descent Kirdtas and the Hinas, Many modem 

sects, beginning with Caitanya, the Radhavallabhis, the Kabir-panthis, Valla- 
bhacarls, the Brahmos and the Arya Samajists accepted outsiders. Religious 
toleration is the theme of one of Asoka’s rock-edicts (12th Rock Edict): ‘‘The 
King beloved of the gods, honours every form of religious faith, but considers 
no gift or honour so much as increase of the substance of religion; whereof 
this is the root, to reverence one’s own faith and never to revile that of 
others. Whoever acts differently injures his own religion, while he wrongs 
another’s”. The Hindu and the Buddhistic rulers of India acted up to this 
principle with the result that the persecuted and the persecutors of all reli- 
gions found shelter in India. The Jews, the Christians, the Parsis were 
allowed absolute freedom to develop on their own lines. 

The clash of cult and the contact of cultures do not, as a rule, result in 
a complete domination of the one by the other. The emotional attitudes 
attached to the old forms are transferred to the new, which are fitted into the 
background of the old. Many tribes and races had mystic animals; and when 
these tribes entered the Hindu society, the animals which followed them 
were made vehicles (vdhanas) and companions of God. One of them is 
mounted on a peacock, another on the swan, a third is carried by a bull and 
a fourth by the goat. The enlistment of Hanuman in the service of Rama 
signifies the meeting-point of early nature-worship and later theism. The 
dancing of Krsna on Kaliya’s head represents the subordination, if not the 
displacement, of serpent-worship. Rama’s breaking of the bow of Siva 
signifies the conflict between the Vedic Ideal and the Cult of Siva who 
soon became the God of the South There are other stories in 

the Epic literature indicating the reconciliation of the Vedic and the non- 
Vedic faiths. The heroised ancestors, the local saints, the planetary influ- 
ences and the tribal God, were admitted into the Hindu pantheon, though 
they were all subordinated to the one supreme reality^ of which they were 
regarded as aspects. The polytheism was organised in a monistic way. 

Chapter VIII 


I. Food 

Gujarat, being the strong-hold of Jainism since the beginning of the 
second millenium, the doctrine of Ahimsa had worked an appreciable change 
as regards food and drink of the Gujaratis. Still, however, animal food is 
used by Rajaputs, aborigines and low class Hindus. Among the flesh-eaters 
and those who used liquors may be mentioned Bhatias and Luh§nas driven 
to Sindh, Rabaris in Saurastra, Golas, Mods (now abstainers). Dhobis and 
barbers (the Masuria section) . Vegetarianism is, however, slack in Southern 
Gujarat among the artisan class — Luhars, Kurhbhars, Dhobis, Kharvas and 
others. This is perhaps due to the fact that Jainism did not spread so widely 
in Southern Gujarat; and, moreover, the daily contact of the aboriginal 
‘ Kali Paraj ’ and Bhil classes affected their dietary. 

The social change which came over Gujarat is thus best instanced by 
the questions of food and drink. The Sastras forbid the use of brinjals as 
food in certain seasons. Nevertheless, Hindus of all castes have taken to the 
brinjal as a dainty article of diet; and there is humour in the social change 
embodied in the popular saying : “ The brinjals of the Sastras are not the 
brinjals of the market. Leave the former; and eat the latter.” (Cf. the 
Gujarati proverb qttftjTPn ffiwi). Many think that orthodox Hindus hate 
onions because of their smell. The religious prejudice against onions began 
when the Mahomedans imported them as an article of diet. Hence it is 
known as ’ (Mleccha kanda). But the prejudice has considerably 

waned with time. Still, however, Krsnaram, who wrote just when English 
influence was beginning to be felt in Gujarat, bewails the laxity shown by 
the people of the higher caste in the use of onions, garlic, the Mahuda flower, 
gajar, opium, tobacco, tanabdbindica and other stimulants.' Dayaram refers 
to the outward formalisms of a Vaisnava who has every objection to the 
use of garlic, but has no scruples to take bribes, a greater sin.’ 

1. Cf. Krsuaram : “ <15^ sgui Jigjsq % 

3?iW tmif W, SRW W.” 

2. Cf. DaySrim : “ «a<ii jjfl, iR : 

irg cFl JRW % ^ ” 




We need not detain the reader in recounting the varieties of Gujarit 
Cookery and the different delicacies called (thirty-two varieties of 

dishes) in the stories of Samal Bhatt. Premanand, also, has given a toler- 
ably complete list of these varieties while describing the * iSraddha feast of 
Narsimha Mehta’s father Among some of the favourite dishes may be 
mentioned as being popular among the Jainas and the Vai$navas.‘ 

It is interesting to note that a Pars! contemporary of Premanand, 
Erward Rustom Peshotan, has given in his Siyawak^a Nameh (A. D. 1680) 
a description of a Persian banquet which is more like the description of a 
Gujarati Hindu’s dinner than of one partaken by a follower of Zarathrusht 
in pre-historic Iran. The dishes described go to show an assimilation of 
Hindu manners and customs in the life of his characters.’ 

A representative list of certain rich items generally served at a 
feast is found in the Vilasavatikathd by Sadharanahka Suri in Samvat 
1123 composed in Apabhramsa, which may be taken to be the items 
of food of the middle classes of Gujarat during the period.’ It is be- 
lieved that the Marathas introduced certain dishes such as 
Slf, 3OT "Ttoi) and The Mahomedan contact too introduced and 

<41 { 1 ^ 1 ^ and other varieties in certain dishes.'' 

II. Dress 

Perhaps the most striking illustrations of the control of tastes by 
standards evolved by the group are to be drawn from the succession of 

3. Cf ; ‘fw *•!’ i Krsnaram. 

4. Vide, Milestones in Guj. Lit., p. 146, on which is reproduced the piece as 
given here 


^ 53Jf I 

Jirem <1^ trei, i3rn*ri ^si u 

5ir® 519 5ret *i0^t 31^, sn® 9 5N1 I 
SR ^ 31xlf^ vn ^ 8iM.ll ” 

5. Vide, Introduction to * Apabhramsa KavyatrayV by Lalacandra Pa^^it, G. O. Series 
No, XXXVIl : the following words, which can be identified are woi th noting 

8R5;-«ni5i; gRf 

JRlft 519; >11^9; ’J®firS5-iTl95g; 533®, 

3m; 9sfil>3-9|5#; 9^; 5f39 fjt.” 

6. Vide, K. M. Jhaveri : “ ggORR il4t 5<5nfwr ” in Currents in Mediaeval 
Gujarati Literature (1927). 



fashions in dress. No modern man would venture to appear on street with 
a costume of sixteenth century. Social experience shows that a man can do 
his worldly business with less distraction in a conventional male attire with 
least reference to form and colour. ' Women, on the other band, are engaged 
in cultivating a different point of contact with the social world and their 
costumes are accordingly of a different type. 

What is true of architecture and all the arts is also true of dress. It 
is said in the Upanisad that, '^Wealth is dear to us not because we desire the 
fact of wealth itself, but because we desire ourselves.** This means that we 
feel ourselves in our wealth and therefore we love it. The things which 
rouse our emotions arouse our own self-feeling. How utility and sentiment 
take different lines in expression can be seen in the dress of a man compared 
with that of a woman. 

A man’s dress, as a rule, shows all that is necessary and not merely 
decorative. But a woman has naturally selected the decorative, not only in 
her dress but in her manners also. She has to be picturesque and musical to 
make manifest what is more concrete and personal than man. She is not 
to be judged merely by her usefulness but by her delightfulness. Therefore, 
she takes infinite care in expressing, not her profession, but her personality.’ 

Dress in Gujarat can be comprised within a few typical forms^ 
Fashion, which in Europe is so frequently variable and occupies itself with 
line and colour, is in Gujarat far more stable and persistent. Fashion 
exists, of course, in every land where women live and grow; and also it 
changes. But it busies itself rather with what may be called the accidents than 
with the essentials of attire. In the choice of colour, the women of Gujarat 
display a rich variety; and selection, though less subject to sudden and violent 
alteration, is governed by those moods of temperament which are generalised 
under the name of ‘fashion’. No less operative upon the designs of jewellery 
and the choice of gems to be set in gold is the changing temperament. 
Even in respect of the texture which women choose for their clothes, there are 
collective changes of mood and mode to be noticed. But in point of dress and 
adornment, as in othgr acti^ties, in Gujarat there is a governance by autho- 
rity and a quasi-religious sanction which is foreign to the strongly indivi- 
dualistic tempers of the West. The shapes, and to some extent the colours, of 
dress and the design and manner of wearing jewellery are amongst those dis- 
tinctive marks of social rank and ceremonial purity, in a word, of caste, 
which are guarded jealously, as if almosit sacred. It is only in the additions 
and embellishments permitted upon the normal habits of the caste, that 

7. Tagore, on “ What it Art ? 



the human personality finds room for self-display. A woman must, first 
of all, make her dress conform to the approved habits of her class. That 
done she is free to express her own tastes and talents within the range of 
such permissible colours and superfluous ornaments as do not alter the 
essential lines of her costume. 

The interest of dress centres mainly upon the human psychology of 
which it is one among many other expressions. Dress regarded as form and 
colour only, has no doubt its own value to the painter. Like every arrange- 
ment in which selected hues or lines are grouped for the creation of a new 
beauty, it has an emotional appeal apart from its meaning or history. The 
uses of drapery in sculpture and sensuous pleasures given by rich velvets 
and gold brocades in some of the paintings are instances of the fascination of 
clothes, merely on their decorative side. But an intenser interest comes to 
being when dress is known to be also the expression of a character that, in 
one sense, may be called ‘individuar, but may with more reality be regarded 
as part of a vast national life. 

Dress is a means selected to heighten the attraction of the sexes for 
each other. The use of clothes as a protection against the extremes of 
climate is merely secondary and is even something of a reproach to natural 
adaptation. That dress comes to be used incidentally to preserve modesty, 
does not affect its primary purpose. Dress and ornament are so designed as 
to combine their direct, and under the guise of modesty their indirect, attrac- 
tions. If the dress did not conform to some inbred desire in those who see 
it, it could have no power to please; even it might become repellent. It 
responds, therefore, to the psychology of the people in whom it is found. 

Looked at from these aspects, the fundamental difference between the 
costumes and ornaments of Marwari, of Saurastri, of Gujarati and of 
Maharastri women, becomes at once more deeply significant. Symmetry and 
simplicity were conceptions beyond the brains and outside the temperaments 
of Marwari women and women of the aboriginal classes. What these women 
sought always, and with a great effectiveness achieved, was a shape, or rather 
a conglomeration of shapes, complicated and exaggerated, with a heap of 
bangles and anklets that seemed curious, awful, and bizslrre. They never 
sought to soothe the mind. These women, if they were to excite the desires 
of men equally unrefined in their tastes, had to take their attention by 
storm, with the aid of the fantastic and unexpected in their costume. With- 
out the subtlety of imagination and fineness to excel by a fine harmony or 
graceful nicety, they were forced upon the extravagant and the exuberant. 
The lines of their dress were not designed to be congruous with the human 
body or to agree in beautiful drapery, but were meant rather to amaze the 



onlooker by a sudden onslaught upon his vision/ At any cost, they were to 
be effective to produce an immediate effect by the strangeness and extra- 
vagance of their form. 

In regard to colour they had less invention and hardly any taste; and 
the dry and sandy deserts of Rajputana or the hilly tracts of the southern 
Maratha country were not suited to richer colours. So it is that yellow, 
red, and green are the bold and glaring colours to which they had recourse. 
However mitigated, these are characteristics that remain to this day. 
Even in modern times, the lines tend to be abrupt and exaggerated; and an 
everchanging fashion varies them in a discordant manner. 

Gujarati dress, on the other hand, has this in common with the classic 
style, that it is simple in form and harmonious. It exacts no distractions or 
deformities. It veils the body but does not misrepresent it. While it ap- 
proves a natural simplicity of design, it delights in a profusion of extraneous 
ornament. The Gujarati woman wears dresses that in shape are easy and 
simple and beautiful, but she seeks further to attract by a marvellous vari- 
ety of colour and a curious adornment." Among Hindu women the dress 
consists of three pieces only, never more, though they may be only two. 
These are a skirt, a bodice, and a mantle."* The ‘skirt’ (called because 

it reaches the ig^-deg) is not very different from the ‘petticoat’ of Europe in 
cut, but may either drop simply or be made up in accordion pleats, something 
as a kilt is pleated, so cut as to stand out a considerable way at the ankle. 
The latter shape, worn mainly by the women of Marwar, of Kathiawar, and 
the Bharwad, Rabari or Gujjar type of females, — in painting invariably given 
to Radha and the loves of the god Kf ^na,— is most beautiful with its brush 
and swing. The skirt is fastened plainly by a silken cord tied fast at the 
waist and is sometimes girdled by a silver belt. 

8. An illustration from a song may be given of this type ; — 

“ =^'r, rW : 

9. For a beautiful variety of sets of dress and ornaments accompanying either 
red, black, green, yellow or white colour, see the exquisite description given by 
Narsiihha Mehtg; Vide, Collected Work*, p. 605, Pada beginning with : 

“ not tllTI " 

10. Cf ; Nanalal : “#olt, : ' 

fit: : 

efect «3SII^ giro— .Vjwt ^ ^ 1 



The Gujarati ' Bodice ’ is designed in the main to support the breast 
(something like the of the Sanskpt poetry) whose form it defines and 

even by its pattern accentuates. It may either fit all round the person, fas- 
tening in front by buttons or a ribbon, or be a covering for the chest only, 
put on from the front and tied across the open back by two tapes.” The 
bodices of the KathiawadI females are specially remarkable. Their bodice, in 
no real sense, fulfils its part; but is rather a bright-decked screen dropping 
from the neck to just below the waist-line, stiffened with pieces of glass and 
thick stitching.” The mantle, which they adopt, unlike that of most Hindu 
women, is short (like that of the Mussalman) , but coarser. 

The most distinctive feature of all women is certainly the glorious 
drapery or the ‘Sari ’ — an oblong of material, hemmed when possible at one 
side with gold embroidery (Cf : tlleg'd' SBtJJS and edged with a sort of 
closed fringe. The hues and patterns of these “Saris” have an infinite range. 
Some are in plain natural colours, white, or red, or blue — others are delicate 
cotton-prints, flowered and spriggled and dainty. Sometimes they are 
printed in a bold decorative design, formal and conventional. But in drap- 
ing of the sdri consists the highest art and the true expression of personality. 
One end is taken round the waist a couple of times and tucked into the 
waistband at the centre, falling to the feet in formal folds : the other passes 
over head and shoulder with the breadth decorated and displayed across the 
upper half of the body. In the management of the upper half lies the true 
secret. It must show the full beauty of the cloth, yet by a sort of innocent 
accident, without a hint of ostentation. At the same time, it must be loose 
enough to allow graceful folds to drop naturally from the head to the 
shoulders, and tight enough to sit close at the breast whose curves it accen- 
tuates while it seems to veil. 

11. Cf : Prof. Narasiihharao : Smarar^a-Mukura, p. 62. 

“ V. sniT^t ^ R# wfh ^ 

Slit iOT#. wgig 3?r(»t, v, 

Bi5t b; 0m ^ ^.155 f g. eiwri 

wsn sr, ^ ‘ ^ si mtiia 

«mi3 sr 0^, mm 3^ ura k 

^ ^ sitr.'?— ‘amm %s!im gsrtnrift 

sinrSt ws. gf^ ’, ?. 

12. " Kathiawacl embroidery, whether of dresses, blankets, of wall and door-cover- 

ings, or of table-cloths, is such that no merchant or prince need ever go out- 
side his state for decoration of city, home or palace. The sense ani love of 
colour visible in the bodices, the shawls with their unique stamped patterns 
and the bits of inserted glass, shows an artistic tradition of which ary nation 
might be proud.” — ** Impressions of Kathiawad ** byL,B. Elmhirst in Vfivo- 
Bharati Quarterly^ April, 1924. 



Enough, but not too much, of the bodice must be shown with a fine 
nicety. In a stray verse reproduced below, the poet has preferred to. ex- 
press his opinion as to the importance of ‘expression’ in language and the idea 
to be expressed, by an illustration from the style of draping bodice in 
different countries”. “The ‘meaning’ should not be too much explicit as are 
the breasts of Andhra women, nor should it be too much deep or covered over, 
as are those of the Gurjara ladies. It should be partly distinct and partly 
suggestive from language, as are the breasts of Mahara^trl women.” The 
style of completely covering the front parts, however, suggests modesty among 
Gujarati women. 

While recounting the special points of attraction in the ladies of vari- 
ous provinces in India the poet refers to the breasts of Gurjara ladies which 
excite love.“ In the South of Gujarat, where from the steamy warmth 
of the climate or from some subtle change of mood, or due to hilly nature of 
the earth, the Sari is so draped as to be caught between the legs in a 
broad, low-hanging fold, tucked loosely at the back. Its folds are carefully 
arranged to leave a double thickness, marked by the border of the mantle, 
over the upper part of the legs. 

It is, probably, a style inherited from a remote antiquity, descendant 
from the dresses seen even in Buddhist carvings in the great rock-temples of 
the Deccan. The pressure of the ascetic ideal is rather shown more strongly 
in the monotonous colours, dark hlue usually or dark green, which are the 
ordinary wear in those parts of the country. This contrast in dress between 
the Southern part of Gujarat and its Central and Northern parts reflects, 
perhaps, that contrast in belief and character. Thd monotony of asceticism 
is even more noticeable in the South in the dress of widows — a dress of 
mantle only, white, or of a strange dull, dingy red — a dress that kills all 
looks and attractions, save where the light of religious duty makes the 
starved face seem spiritual. 

Dress, even in its simplest form, has been seen to have its sectarian mean- 
ing and restrictions. A widow is limited to certain solid colours, black” or 

13. wif?RTO*Jr«BT^ • 

^ wifron fiPiis: i 

»w PTrmfqfcm 

I ' 

15. Cf. MirSbai refers to a widow's gown as contrasted to a mantle of a married 
woman, whose husband is alive 



dark blue, red or white; and hence, black colour has been considered cnninous. 
A finer taste prevails in society, when the modes and fashions of dress and 
ornament change, when odd and antiquated is supplemented by novel and 
simple. It is a curiosity of literature that Prof. K. H. Dhruva has written 
a “Polled Poccisi" in the last decade of the previous century in ‘Buddhi 
Prakasa ’, which has the change in the fashion of dress and ornament under 
British influence as its theme. Some of these lines are reproduced below. “ 
A well-known couplet betrays the old relations of Gujarat with Marwid 
and Rajputana, in matters even of dress; and it describes the heavy petticoat 
with numerous folds reaching to the ankles and the silken bodice, remark- 
ably tight and fitting. " 

Costumes in ‘ Vasanta Vildsa ’ (an illustrated poem called * Dalliance 
in Spring’, copied in 1450 A. D.) have reference only to Gujarat of the fif- 
teenth century; and they must, therefore, be regarded as typical only of 
Western India.'" Men wore dhoti reaching upto the ankles with a short 
scarf thrown across the shoulders, leaving the upper-half of the body uncov- 
ered. In an animated panel illustrating a hunting episode a man is shown 
in dhoti only upto the knees, with scarf across the shoulders. He is bare- 
headed and carries a quiver of arrows by his side and is seen in pursuit of a 
buck and a doe. This dress appears to have been the typical Hindu male 
attire for at least the past two thousand years. There have been only minor 
varieties in the male outfit during the slow march of centuries. 

“ ^ ^ ‘t, ^ In : 

Cf. also ‘ 

fie 35IIY, : 

a?i> fpurt ! ” 

16. “ ^ 

^ : #1 #1151011 ^ , 

f# an??®! 51 

#^'8l ^ : #t #fmi tii qiesBT— • 

eqq^ 5i 

#fe^ 5«t #®T.i 5ft ^ ; #t #fR0lf 511 ^T— ” 

17. Cf. Eiiq^l, TO5T3<t : 

3w®a5 «srTi, w 3 Ni^«— ^ 1 it 

‘ ‘ ’—Prof. N. B. Divafia ; ‘ Smarar^a Mukura. 

18. N. C. Mehta : A Further Essay on Vasanta Vildsa (1931)^ , 



The pyjdmd appears to have been wholly unknown, as also the turban 
(a debased form of mukuta or mauli, the head-dress) which came into fash* 
ion with the advent of the Mughals, half a century later, and was adopted by 
Indian aristocracy, Hindu and Musalman, as the national costume at least 
in the courts of Northern India and Rajputana. 

The headgear usually employed is a kind of peaked cap or 'mukuta ’ 
which degenerated later into the hideous cap of the present day. Men wore 
a pair of bracelets, sometimes as many as six on each arm, with a golden band 
just above the right elbow. All the men without exception, bore the Vai^nava 
tilaka on the forehead — two straight lines with or without a connecting 
bridge at the bottom. The invariable presence of this Vai§pavite symbol 
testifies to the great resurgence of the popular cult of Bhakti or devotion, 
which swept through the country during the fifteenth and the sixteenth 
centuries, and the echoes of which can still be heard amidst the clash and 
conflict of our modern life. 

It will be noticed that the fifteenth century male costume differs but 
little from that in vogue during the period of Ajanta paintings. Important 
personages (such as Avalokitesvara in the famous Ajanta masterpiece) wore 
dhoti reaching to the knees and a mukuta with the portion of the body above 
the waist bare. The mukuta only had changed, becoming less elaborate, 
and, let it be said, more ugly, till it became a mere travesty of a dignified 
headgear during the nineteenth century. 

While the male costume appears to have followed a stereotyped 
design for centuries, feminine draperies have been subject to radical change 
of fashion. The ‘ 5dn ’ typical of modern Gujarat was not known to the 
artists of ‘ Vasanta Vildsa ’. The women wore a long gaily coloured scarf 
broadest at the ends coming down from the shoulders and hanging loose 
below the knees. The lower portion of the body was wrapped in a -different 
coloured dhoti much in the same way as is done at the present day in Bengal 
and the United Provinces. The skirt seerns to have been unknown. 

A tight-fitting bodice or choli, covering the bust almost down to the 
waist, a little above the na\«l, and covering the arms upto the elbows was in 
vogue. The arms were practically loaded with bangles; and a variety of 
necklaces — chains of gold and garlands of flowers, hanging down the waist 
adorned the neck. Men and women decorated the ears with karna'phoola 
(large circular ear-rings) and both put the Vaisnavite symbol on the fore- 
head. The circular red mark between the eye-brows, characteristic of all 
married Hindu women of today whose husbands are alive, appears to have 
been sometimes substituted in place of the customary lines of religious 



The elaborate and magnificent coiffures noticed at Ajanta and 
Bagh seem to have completely disappeared; and the Gujarati ladies of the 
fifteenth century contented themselves by wearing their hair loose and tying 
them into elaborate knots coming down below the waist and sometimes even 
reaching upto the knees (‘^TTWi^lT %d’). 

The Mahomedan contact introduced a taste for fine, light and delicate 
attire such as jdmfi, dagldj pahiran, ijdr, pdyajdmd, and other fashions of dress 
and objects of luxury,’” 

HI. Ornaments 

The origin of ornaments is the desire to adorn one’s person with some 
attractive objects. Trophies of gold, silver or other metallic imitation 
were originally worn by the warrior class. Gradually their metallic 
representations lost their semblance or original purpose and came to be 
worn as marks of honour, by the whole populace. These were later modified 
into decorative objects. Rings in noses**” or ears or around the neck, cr on 
wrist, or anklets — ‘originally badges of slavery’^ — are now retained as 
ornaments all the world over. The nose-ring (Burakho) is sometimes a sign 
of dedication of the wearer to some god. The desire for display is also an- 
other origin of decorations and costumes. At first confined to the upper 
classes, it diffuses like fashion in our times through all the lower classes 
of people. The privilege of the higher classes thus came to be encroached 
upon by the common people, and the distinguishing social restraints largely 

Bhil women are fond, like all savages, of adornment; and layer upon 
layer of glass beads, dark blue, white and crimson, lie heavy over their necks 
and breasts. Heavy bands of brass circle the leg from knee to instep, and 
clash and tinkle as they move. The use of jewellery has a religious tinge 
among Hindus. It is for instance a common belief that at least a speck of 
gold must be worn upon the person to ensure ceremonial purity. The “six- 
teen ornaments” complete the set of a woman’s^ decoration.^'^ We read of 

19. Cf. Kri§ijaram, who criticises the publicUaste for Mahomedan fashions of 

dress in hiS * Kalikdlano Garabo' : *5'^ 55p^, STPU ’ 

20. Cf. Narsiiiihrao Divatia’s paper on “ The nose-ornament J. A. S. B. Vol. XVIII, 

21. Cf. The foot-ornaments symbolise the girrs passing under the lordship of 
her husband. — Bom. Gaz., IX, ii, p. 232. 

22. Vide, Mrs. Caitanyabala Majmudar's Paper on ** Laliia Kald*\ VII GuJarSti 
Sahitya Pari?ad Proceedings f 1924). 



this list in songs and poems. Variety there is, and indeed, the number 
of ornaments each with its different name and use is almost bewildering; 
still there is little change in design; because in each kiiid the design passes 
from one generation to another almost unchanged, and the craftsmen had 
no need to devise new forms and varying settings. What had been worn by 
the grand-mother will be equally pleasing to the grand-daughter. 

The bracelet is the most significant, and the nose-ring the most 
peculiar, of Indian ornaments; for bracelets are above all the visible sign of 
marriage.” Ivory is generally used for such purposes; though Jaina ladies 
use Sesum wood for the purpose, because of their religious prejudices. 
Bangles made of lac are peculiar to married women, and next to them in 
significance are the bangles of variegated glass. The use of ‘ Sahkha-valaya ’ 
— conch-shell bangles — is very old. 

The ‘ nose-ring ’ is only seldom in the shape of a ring. In Northern 
India, in certain castes, a real ring of a large diameter passes through the 
cartilage and its effect is not beautiful. But in most places and classes, it is 
not so much a ring as a small cluster of gems affixed by one means or another 
to the nostril that is worn most commonly — a sort of a brooch with a large, 
almost triangular setting — and is also clumsy and otherwise than beautiful.” 
Another type worn by the cultivators of Gujarat is like a button in which 
the jewelled top screens through a hole in the nostril, into the lower half. 
The prettiest of all is a small stud of a single diamond or ruby fixed almost 
at the corner of the left nostril. 

While the nose-ring, which appears to have been a Muslim innovation, 
was imknown, women wore a diamond or a pearl as nose-drop. Women of 
lower classes went about bare-headed and the mukuta appears to have been 
a monopoly of feminine aristocracy. 

Women are often shown as carrying flowers and also a sort of a 
— a long stringed instrument — hung on a bamboo frame without the sounding 

s. nviRT ^ ^ qjr, ^ *11^, 

> SR iw ^lORfc JFnsii fwrar 

siir > wm, > ifi=4r, 

.wa, »i5t ^ tR #3 ^«Ti< 0 . ” 

23. Cf. : Premfinanda's Suddmo Carita : Sud Sima’s poor wife had a single bangle 
on each hand as a sign of her husband being alive : 

24. Narsiihha Mehta refers to one 'Nathaij.i’ made up of .several pcarl.s, passing 

through a gold thread (“ *3! etc.), which could wav*' 

to and fro Perhaps he refers to one that was in vogue in 

Vrndivana, Krspa’s home in childhood. 



gourd with an axe-shaped decoration at one end. Both men and women 
wore anklets. The ancient girdle which is even now worn in rural Gujarit 
is noticeably absent from the list of feminine ornaments. 

In the lower strata of Gujarat and even probably among higher castes 
‘tattooing’ seems to have been purely decorative, the parts of the body 
tattooed being those exposed to view; the face, the centre of the forehead, the 
space between the eyebrows, cheeks and chin; the arms below the elbow, 
fingers, chests, breasts, and neck; and feet below the ankles. Such marks 
are thought to be protective, when they represent symbols of the family or 
the guardian deities. Butin other cases “they are curative, as tattooing 
over a tumour is supposed to relieve it, and that on the belly to cure 
colic.’’* But more generally they are meant to be decorations.® 

The records of a by-gone life and civilization which lie buried with 
the ornaments, especially of the ladies of the times, are noticed from the 
ornaments* which had been secured from Sauras^ra. They were churis 
and bangles made out of conch-shells of different sizes, patterns and work- 
manship; the inner folds and rims and indentations of the conch-shell have 
supplied the material to make these ornaments. The Sankhahharana or 
conch-shell ornaments are described by Bana in his Kadambari ’ to have 
added to the beauty of Mahasveta. Pieces of conch-shell bangles, rings 
etc. are unearthed from many old sites in Gujarat since then. 

There were the cowries also, which have later on become the favourite 
decoration of Banzara women. A necklace with a pendant — ^the beads whereof 
were made of conch-shell — was also an old relic; these conch-shell ornaments 
with the cowries have ere long been out of fashion, and they are used only 
among the wandering aboriginal people. Bullock-carts are, however, to this 
day decked with trinkets made out of them, and the cowries for horses, 
cows and bullocks in wider areas are not entirely out of fashion. 

IV. Amusements 

As early as the Mauryan period, we learn that village-concerts 
(Samajas and Go$this) used to be arranged on occasrons of holidays and 
festivities. Here, as in other aspects of village life, the villagers were 

25. Baro^ Census Report, 1902. 

26. Cf. : * Tattooings ’ on the face are known as : — 

(i) “ ^ ?n#. *’ 

(ii) “ 5 sfl : 

51 *11? >iRl ^ ” — *Tiwn. 

27. Vide, Dr. H. H. Dhruva ; Baroda State Delegate to Vienna Oriental Conference, 
1889, pages 108-U0. 


actuated by a spirit of brotherhood, cooperation and mutual assistance. Not 
to cooperate in and contribute for such vil]age>shows and dramas was re- 
garded as a sin against society. Such shows and dramas were quite common 
in this early period.” The actors in these concerts were either local ama- 
teurs or outside professional men. Occasionally professional singers, dancers, 
and actors used to visit villages in olden days. 

We get a very faithful picture of the pleasures and pastimes of the 
people in Gujarat from literature dealing with occasions like the enjoyments 
of the ‘Pkdga ’ or the spring-festival, the ‘Hindol ’ in the month of iSravana 
and the Navaratra and the Dival! holidays in the month of Asvin. The 
subject-matter of the ‘ Vasanta-Vilasa ’ is the advent of spring, especially the 
month of Phalguna. The love described is that of husband and wife, which 
according to the poet 'has now increased threefold; for the spring has come 
and Nature is fragrant and the sky cloudless '. The poet says : “The mango 
is in bloom and the bees have been awakened by the smoke of the flaming 
hearts of separated lovers. ” The emotional aspect of the Spring is made 
out in a series of exceptionally powerful stanzas (duhas) full of brilliant 
imagery, and vivid word-painting. The poet describes the preparation made 
for enjoying the Spring. “The pleasure-ground has been decorated and 
watered and the swing of the carhpaka flowers made ready with golden 
chains.”” The perfumes which the ladies indulged in are referred to in 
many songs.” The games of young girls are also mentioned in many play- 
songs which they sing on festive occasions such as ‘ ’. It shows how the 

girls were having an outdoor life and how they matured into healthy youths 
by these games.™ 

It was under the Mahomedans that Gujarat learnt much of luxury 
and pomp and a taste for refinement. Gardens, fountains, perfumes and all 
possible luxuries were introduced into the land in imitation of the court." 

28. They are called 'Prekyd ’ by Caijaky a and ‘ Somajtt ’ ly Asoka. The ‘Samaja’ 
consisted of dancing, singing and music, dramatic performances and acrobatic 

• • 

29. “ 

TO® hWI, ?l®. ” 

30. Cf. : “ V’ 

31. Some of these games are known from this line : 


32. Cf. : K. M. Jhaveri’s contribution in “Currents in Mediaeval Gujarati litera- 
ture ”, p. 191, on ‘ gronsT ^ ’ : 



It is said that a Khorasani is said to have introduced into Gujarat the kntnur* 
ledge of fountains and artificial waterfalls.** Among the city-dw^rs in 
Gujarat the Suratis and Jamnagaris (Cf,: SWW ^ ^ 

— Navalram) are generally more refined in taste as they indulged in all 
possible luxuries."' 

It appears that gardens and orchards were an important feature of 
towns and cities in ancient Gujarat. We need not base this conclusion upon 
the poetic description of our Prabandhas; there is ample other evidence. 
For, as we have already seen, in many of our donatory grants, the granted 
property consists of gardens situated either within the town or in its pre- 
cincts. In fact, the presence of numerous temples and pious devotees, 
inevitably entailed the laying out of numerous gardens. These gardens, 
though originally intended, in most, for the purposes of divine worship, 
must have also incidentally served the purpose of human recreation. The 
statement about Dasapura gardens clearly shows that some were definitely 
reserved as places of public recreation."' 

Temple was the centre of many village activities. It was there that 
the children of the villagers assembled rooming and evening to learn the three 
R’s. It was to the temple that the village litigants used to repair to get 
their quarrels settled by the Pancayat. It was to the same place that the 
way-worn traveller, reaching the village in the evening dusk, used to repair 
for his nocturnal sojourn. It was in the temple precincts that the villagers 
used to assemble in the evening for social talks and recreation. It was to 
the same holy place that, in case of an epidemic, the villagers used to repair 
all in a body, to pray to the deity for her grace to end the common calamity. 

“ Jrai aiw 5(1. ^ tR, «n»i, 

«pfNr, ’fKlRRl, ^ (1?1 

=5itJa?ii smn, ?5 ik, qiqaijn nil 

g'Kl'Jinft ^ ?rr5 jr 5l^g. |5 Rt, aipR'i sRsilnf ^ 

Taste 3M3I Refinement 5 ^ ^ siM Xani ” 

33. Indian Antiquary, LXll, 5. ^ c 

34. Navalram’s description of his own city-people, the Suratis : 

“ urfB, ^ 5RKf : *. 

#55T 5?^, 5TP3 ^ (n 3R zm <•, 

tRtii t?Rn 5t 51^ gn w, 5 5IH ?— ij 51>? gsiti^ ” 

35. D. C. Sircar’s Select Inscriptions : 

aisranriiTai ll — Mandsor Inscription. 



And it was the temple-hall where the religious sermons were delivered on the 
days of religious sanctities and observances. Temple then has naturally 
been an indispensable feature of our village communities. 

Another source of recreation was the Fair (Mela), Fairs were more 
numerous in the past; and they afforded opportunities for many-sided amuse- 
ments. There were dancers, singers and actors, giving their performances; 
there were wrestling-matches, bull-fights, cock-fights, ram-fights; there were 
acrobatic feats and humdrum performances; the market contained many rare 
articles which the villagers were anxious to purchase. Everybody, therefore, 
thronged to the fair; even people from adjoining villages used to visit them 
either for amusement or for business. There was also the pleasure of listen- 
ing to a narration of an interesting episode either from the Epics or the 
Puranas or from popular romances, all contributing to the mirth, recreation 
and amusement of the people assembled, mostly at night when the day’s 
fatigue was forgotten and each went home refreshed and delighted. Almost 
all the fairs are held during the rainy season, and many in the month of 
Sravana (July- August). 

The Saurastra fairs are generally not held for trade but chiefly for 
pilgrimage and in some cases for pleasure. Sweetmeats, cloth, trinkets, toys, 
metal-pots and other articles are brought to these fairs by neighbouring petty 
dealers who set up booths. Napoleon’s remark that the ‘ English were a 
nation of shopkeepers’ would seem from the writings of Sir Thomas Munro 
(who at that time was one of the British administrators in this country) to 
have reached the Indian bazaars in those days and led people to remark 
that the ‘ Indians, too, were a nation of shopkeepers *, because by creating 
shops at every place of festival or pilgrimage they had made (to use Munro’s 
words) “religion and trade sister-arts in India.” 

The largest and most characteristic gatherings of Gujarat are on the 
occasion of religious festivals. Thousands of men gather on the banks of the 
Narmada or at other places where regular fairs are held on some fixed days 
of the year. Hither men, women and children, rich and poor, flock from 
town and village from hundreds of miles in the effort to wash away their 
sins and to gain merit by giving money to holy men and beggars. Similar 
festivals are held elsewhere, and every temple has its feast days, when the 
people gather from the surrounding country. 

V. Dramatic Shows 

Amusements of different kinds are held in the villages during the 
months when there is little field-work. Often people will come in from 



surrounding villages and hamlets. Dramatic performances are given by 
travelling actors— Rasadharls and Ramalilawalas. In some places there are 
less formal amusements, for example, singing and dancing by the yoimg men. 
Wrestling matches and other contests between the representatives of rival 
villages were held. It is worthwhile to look into the origin of dramatic per- 
formances, which amused the masses of Gujarat during the middle ages, 
after Sanskrt classical drama ceased to be staged under the patronage of 
Hindu kings of Gujarat. 

“The origin of the acted drama is, however, wrapt in obscurity,” says 
Prof. Macdonell*; nevertheless the evidence of tradition and of language 
suffice to direct us with considerable probability to its source. The words 
for actor (Nata) and play (Ndtaka) are derived from the verb nat, the 
Prakyt or vernacular form of the Sanskrit ‘nrt’ to dance. The name is 
familiar to English ears in the form ‘ Nauch \ the Indian dancing of the pre- 
sent day. The latter, indeed, probably represents the beginning of the 
Indian drama. It must at first have consisted only of rude pantomime in 
which the dancing, or movements of the body, was acccompanied by mute 
mimicking gestures of hand and face. Songs, doubtless also early, formed 
an ingredient in such performances. Thus ‘Bharata’, the name of the 
mythical inventor of the drama, in Sanskrt also means an ‘ actor ’. The addi- 
tion of dialogue was the last step in the development which was thus much 
the same in India and in Greece. This primitive stage is represented by the 
Bengal Ydtras and the Gitagovinda. These form the transition to the fully 
developed Sanskit play in which lyrics and dialogues are blended. ‘ Ydtrd ’ 
originally meant a procession, such as those customary with the worship- 
pers of Krsna in Bengal. But as a sort of lyrical drama was a regular 
concomitant of such processions, these musical dramas in time were termed 
‘ Ydtrds ’, and this continued even after they were no longer rigidly connected 
with sacred ritual and temple precincts.” 

Indian tradition describes Bharata having caused to be acted before 
the gods a play representing the ‘Swayarhvara of Laksmi (wife of Vi§nu’). 
Patanjali (200 B. C.) mentions representation ef the i‘ Slaying of Kariisa ’ 
(Kamsavadha) and the ‘ Binding of Bali ’ (Balihavdha) by Krsna. Tradi- 
tion further makes Krsna and his cowherdesses the starting-point of the 

36. History oj Sanskrt Literature, page 1, 

37. Cf : ‘ Kanhadde Prabandha ’ (Sariivat 1512) where mention is made of TO^lf, siW 
and <tPl, the popular forms of recreation prevalent in Gujarfit in the early 
16th century ; 

“ iim firs i ^ ) 

THE M»namc factor; arts or plsaburr 


SaAgIta, a representation consisting of song, music and dancing. The Gita** 
govinda is concerned with K^rsna; and the modern yatrds generally represent 
scenes from the life of that deity. From all this ”, says Macdonell, ** it seems 
likely that the Indian drama was developed in conxiectlon with the cult of 
Vi^pu-Krsna, and that the earliest acted representations were> therefore^ 
like the * Mysteries’ of the Christian Middle Ages, a kind of religious {days 
in which scenes from the legend of the god were enacted mainly with the aid 
of song and dance, supplemented with prose-dialogue improvised by the 

Rajasekhara (890-920 A.D.) introduced in the fifth act of the *B<dlardnid- 
yam ’ two jointed Puppets, constructed by the mechanic Visarada, the best 
pupil of Asura Maya. It is the only passage in the whole of Indian liter- 
ature where Puppets appear on the stage in a Sanskrt drama. The Puppet- 
player is called ' Sutradhara i. e, thread-holder, which corresponds to the 
epithet * Sutradhara ^‘attached to thread”, applied to Puppets in the 
Mahabharata; and Sutradhara is still the name for a Puppet-player in India 
at the present day.* 

The * Chaya-nataka ’ is not recognised as a dramatic form in Sanskrt 
works on the drama, yet to this category belong at least seven dramas, chief 
of these being ^Dutdnpada’ by poet Subhata at the court of Kumarapala. 
This play was presented at a festival in honour of Kumarapaladcva, the parti- 
cular event commemorated being the restoration by the king of a Siva 
temple at Devapat1;an or Somanath in Saurastra, It was performed at the 
Dhooly (Holi) festival, March 7, 1243 A. D. 

The ' BhavdV or popular folk drama of Gujarat, which seems to be 
the lineal descendant of an ancient primitive drama, is coarse and obscene. 
It had in its beginning a religious origin meant to act the episodes from the 
Devi’s exploits, narrated in the *Durgd Mdhdimya'; gradually it included 
social satire. The * Bhavai ’ is usually performed in open spaces in streets 
and the like. No stage is required, no scenery, only a poor curtain, occasion- 
ally held by two men at each end; a few torches, and a chorus of two or three 
men helped by musical instruments of a crude nature, such as one or two 
brass-trumpets and cymbal^. The simple surroundings and paraphernalia of 
the Bhavdi will remind one of the similar circumstances of the Burmese 
drama. The performance in a Bhavai does not represent any coordinated 
plot or story at all, but consists of a series of unconnected individual per- 

38. A. A. Macdonnel, History of SanakTt Literature, p. 347 (1905). 

39. Cf. CTCR’s lines : 

^ 3 ?” etc. 




sonations of one, or at the most two or three characters in each scene, either 
presenting some popular episode of professional persons, e. g. an ill*nuitched 
married couple, the tailor, the Borah, and the like. It consists consequently 
of ‘monologues’ or ‘dialogues’ supported by the chorus reciting songs refer- 
ring to the incidents represented, in singing which the actors also join. The 
outstanding feature of Bhavai in later times was its obscenity. Rao Sabeb 
Mahipatram tried his utmost to improve the actors of Bhavai, called Bhavaya 
(who are Targalas or Bhojakas by caste formed in the 14th Century*) to 
purge the performance of its indecency, but without success. This was 
some himdred years ago. ‘Bhavai’ has now gradually receded from the 
city into the remoter villages and is dying out rapidly. In the case of two 
of the Bhavais the names of Akbar and Aurangzeb are mentioned, and 
in ‘Mohana Rani’ the heroine is the Princess Mohana of Ahmadnagiff, the 
well-known city in the Deccan. Samalbhatt many times refers to Bhavai 
during the narration of his metrical romances, like ‘3ukasaptati’. 

Rasadharis’ performance in Vrajabhasa used to be frequent even in 
Gujarat over sixty years ago, the actors came from the province about 
Mathura, belonged to the Vallabhacarya’s Vaiispava sect, and performed 
episodes from the life of Bala Kr^pa. 

There is a Svetaihbarl Jaina Sansk^ drama ‘Mudrita Kumuda Candra’ 
in which Kumuda Candra, a Digambara Acarya from the Karpataka is 
represented as defeated in a disputation by the igvetambara Acaryas of 
Gujarat, in the 12th Century. The drama ‘ Pdnjdta-rnaff jart ’ vras acted at 
Dhara before the Paramara king Arjun Varma. In Indian art there is a 
tendency to devote pointed attention to the foreign and queer, as the Hindus 
do in their national pageants. The man which the Hindu saw everyday, 
namely, one like himself, did not interest the artist and his public so much 
as the outlandish, the uncommon, the dwarf, the lion-rider, the snake-man, 
the snake-woman, the Yaksa, the Abyssinian and the mischievous alien 

VI. Architecture 

The fine Arts including, besides architecnire ar>d costume-designing, 
pottery, metal-working, drawing, landscape painting, gardening, and a host 
of others, all have histories which it would be illuminatirg for the student 
of civilization to study. They all reveal the inner nature of man' in the 

40. Vide, Jaya Sahkar Sundari’s paper, ' Rartga BMmi Parifad Proceedinpt’, 1940 : 

41. Cf. Jfhlt 4141^ ^ in Bhavii-shows, where the Mahomedans whO' Vfere then 
foreigners in the land are held in ridicule. 

TBx sgaamc 7actob: abts or plbasdbs 


struggle to master the outer world and at the same time to gratify his 
own taste.' 'Hiey all show how each generation has based its actions and its 
tastes on the experiences of its predecessors evolving thus a gradual accumu« 
lation of standards which control the individual to a very pronounced 
degree. For example, the periods of national architecture make it perfectly 
evident that the individuals who designed temples, chtirches and other 
public buildings in various countries and epochs did so not in response to 
purely individual ideals but under the control of patterns handed down 
from social experience. 

Perhaps no branch of human culture reflects with greater exactitude 
the progress or decadence of man than Architecture. In the progress of 
Architecture from the most primitive types of human habitation to magni'* 
ficent temples and palaces, we can discover the ceaseless effort of man to 
express his social and religious environment and his attitude towards life. 
In the development of Architecture we can also detect the aesthetic taste 
which actuated man to combine beauty with utility. Ihe progress of Indian 
Architecture from the primitive to the sophisticated was no exception to 
this historical process. 

Scattered throughout the length of Western India is found a great 
and varied collection of ancient monuments — Buddhist, Jaina, Hindu, Maho- 
medan — which with the later Portuguese, Dutch, Armenian and English 
remains make up a goodly assortment. Stupas, caves and structural 
temples, mosques, tombs, palaces, forts, churches, convents and graveyards 
are all represented. Just as varied as these relics of the mason’s craft, 
are the peoples, languages and religious beliefs which gave rise to them. 

The architectural remains of Western India are, for facilities of study, 
divided into four sections : (i) The Ancient Period upto 500 A. D.; (ii) The 
Early Mediaeval Period from circa 500 A. D. to 1000 A. D.; (iii) The 
Mediaeval Period from 1000 A. D. to 1300 A. D. and (iv) the late Mediaeval 

Period including the Muslim monuments from 1300 to 1800 A. D. 

• • 

(i) Ancient Period : Upto 500 A. D. : The cave>temples in the several 
lonely hills in the peninsula of Saura^tra stand as ihe earliest architectiural 
remains. The Uparkot caves on Girnar are, however, found in or near 
ancient passes and communications leading up from the plains or the sea- 
board. The caves at Talaja, Sapa, Gop, phank and Khambhalida are fotuid 
farther inland, cut in the sides of isolated hills and ranges. These rock- 
temples and the monasteries and nunneries were purposely [removed from 
the busy centres of population. 


cavroBAS. msTovs or ovjarat 

The Stflpas that have, up to the present, been found or uncovered in 
Western India are of brick. The great Boria StQpa, discovered and exca- 
vated in the jungles near Junagadh on Mount Girnar, had a solid biimt- 
brick core. The one near the village of Sopara, 33 miles north of Bombay, 
supposed to be the Ophir of King Solomon’s time, was first excavated by 
Dr. Bhagvanlal Indraji, and was again excavated and laid bare sometime in 
1940. The relics discovered from the Boria Stupa are exhibited in tixe 
Jfinagadh Museum. 

The Iptwa sealing of the Bhiki^u-sangha of early third century which 
has a Caitya symbol is reported to be one of the earliest of this type in 
ancient India, from the Brahml legend which reads ' Mahdrdja Rudrasena 
Vihare Bhik^u Saihghasya'^ Samalaji Stupa of the 4th century A. D. has 
already been referred to (supra, p. 205). 

(ii) The Early Mediaeval Period : Fiom 500 A. D. to 1000 A. D. : For 
very early structural temples we must turn to Saura^^i^a. Along the 
southern shore of the peninsula and along the coast -line are found a few 
old shrines like those of Kadvar, Bilesvara, Sutrapada, Visavada and {Than. 
The best and the oldest example is that at Gop, in the Barda Hills. The 
little arched niches upon the tower, with little heads in them, are but 
miniature imitations of the great arched facadts of the cave-Caityas of the 
Buddhists. The rest of the pre-Calukyan temples have an essential oneness 
with some points of difference, which ultimately led to the full-fledged 
Calukyan temple-style. 

(iii) The Mediaeval Period : From 1000 A.D. to 1300 A. D. : One of the 
richest and most prolific development of the Indo-Aryan or the Northern 
style of Architecture prevailed in Western India during the interim of over 
two and a half centuries between Mahmud Ghazni’s sack of Somanath in 
A. D. 1025-26 and the conquest of this part of the country by Allauddin 
Khilji of Delhi in A D. 1298. Mahmud's raid threw the whole of this country 
into disorder; but soon after his retreat to GaznI, the inhabitants appear 
to have soon recovered from the effects of the blow, and they started to 
repair the temples that he had desecrated and despoiled. Then ensued a 
period of comparative peace and prosperity in the Western region undtrthe 
stable Solahki and Vaghela rule, one indication of which was the number 
and character of the religious and secular buildings built at this time. 

Unfortunately, many of the finest monuments of this period are in ruins. 
However, from the ruins that are still extant, it is clear that the Gujarati 

42. The Congregation of mendicants of the Monastery built by Mah&rSja 
Rudrasena, c. 199-222 A. D., had a seal of their own. 


27 ? 

craftsmen had inherited an artistic capacity, rich and deep, in as much as 
their productions are ripe examples of this innate architectural genius. Many 
of these monuments were directly inspired by the rulers; yet some of the 
finer efforts were due to the patronage of their ministers and governors, who 
were politicians, bankers and merchant-princes as welL These monuments 
were also the spontaneous expression of the entire community, as is known 
from inscriptional records. Each member of the community had a mate- 
rial share in the production, by way of offering of the ‘First Fruit’ to 
the deity, in which each person subscribed according to his capacity. Every 
member of the populace was being identified with these artistic productions; 
as, after substantial grants of money or revenue from land were provided for 
by the ruler or his ministers, the village headmen ordered the assembly to 
come to the market-place for an agreement to set apart for the God certain 
taxes, payment to be made in the form of commodities, these imposts being 
recognized by the ministers of the king. Such a measure could not fail to 
implant in one and all the seeds of aesthetic feeling, a condition reflected 
in all the handiwork of the people, from wooden house-fronts of the bazars 
to the works of mere utility. 

With the accession of MQlaraja to the throne of Aphilva^apatan in 
942 A. D., began the building of those temples, the ruins of which are now 
scattered over the country. This temple-building activity reached its 
greatest height during the reigns of Siddbaraja and Kumarapala, during the 
11th and 12th centuries. The remains of Rudramahalaya at Siddhapur, upon 
the Sarasvati river, of the Sun-temple at Mo^hera in Gujarat, those of the 
Navalakha temple of Ghumli in Saura^tra and of Kera Kotai in Kaccha give 
an idea of the richness of architectural and sculptural skill of the Silpis. 

The Kirti-stambhas mostly composed of two columns, which were 
favourite additions to temples in Gujarat vary in fineness and execution. 
The one at a temple on the banks of the river MeSvo at Samalaji is the 
oldest, and certainly pre-Calukyan. Others are found even to-day at the 
Sun-temple of Modbera, at the ornamental tank (kun^a) at Kapadvanj, at 
Vadnagar, at the ruing of Candravatl, and at the Jaina temple at Osia. They 
seem to serve no definite purpose other than ornament; but they serve that 
purpose well. The Torana, as is seen in the Abu temples, was also a pet 
device, whose convulsions are like some beautiful creeper running wild 

between pillar and pillar in cusps and ciurves. 


The workmanship of Kumarapala’s temple of Somanath, from what 
was left, showed that it was later than that of the best period— i. e. the 11th 
century, when the temples of Siirya at Mo^era, Ambamfith near Kalyap, 
the Kudra Mahalaya at Siddhapur and Vhnalavasahl gn Mount Abu ware built^ 



Tanks and wells have been more artistically treated in GujarSt 
in other parts of the country. Gujarat, Rajputana and Saura^tra have been 
plentifully supplied with wells, many of which, especially the step-wells, are 
not much behind the temples in architectural pretensions. There is a fine 
example at Ahmedabad, known as Dada Harir’s; and an even finer one at 
Adalaj has access to the steps from three sides. The Madhav§va at Wa^hvan 
is noteworthy. 

Much attention was paid to the architectural appearance of city-walls 
and gates. The gates at Dabhoi, JQnagadh, Jinjuwada and Ghumli are 
remarkable. Of these gates by far the finest is the Eastern or HIra gate at 

The Jaina temples are mostly built on mountain-peaks. The Jaiha 
shrines on Mount Abu, are better known to tourists than those upon 
Satrunjaya, being more easily accessible. The Dilwada group of temples are 
constructed, almost entirely, of white marble; quarried from the plains in the 
North. The amount of beautiful ornamental detail spread over these temples 
in the minutely carved decoration of ceilings, pillars, doorways, panels and 
niches is simply marvellous. The temple of Ajitanatha on Taranga Hill, 
built by Kumarapala, is one of the largest Jaina temples in Gujarat, the 
statue of Ajitanatha being of a colossal size, perhaps in imitation of early 
gigantic Yaksa images. 

(iv) The Late Mediaeval Period : 1300 A. D. to 1800 A. D. : When 
Allauddin Khilji invaded Gujarat he found beautiful architecture flourish- 
ing. The style was marked by breadth and spaciousness combined with 
elegance. The foundation of the local Muslim style of Gujdrat was laid 
in the 14th century,, but it could not fully develop till the Ahmadshahi 
dynasty. Unlike the architecture of the Hindus, which was confined almost 
entirely to temples, Mahomedan architecture in India is represented by many 
different types of building — the religious as well as secular. Those of religi- 
ous nature consist of two kinds only, the Mosque and the Tomb. The secular 
buildings include those intended for public and civic purposes, such as 
houses, pavilions, town-gates, wells, stepwellsi gardens, etc., besides the 
Imperial schemes of palace-forts and even cities. 

The architecture, developed in Gujarat during the Muslim period, is 
resolved in three divisions : (i) The Delhi or Imperial; (ii) the Provincial, 
and (iii) the Mughal. The first refers to architecture evolved during the 
dynasties of Khilji and Tughlaq at Delhi; the second is the form of architec- 
ture which the Gujarat Sultans developed in accordance with their own in- 
dividual ideals. The third, Mughal, was the ripest form of Indo-Islamic 



The Muslina rulers ware fortunate in having the unrivalled aesthetic 
resources of the con^uarad territory in Gujarat and found some of the * most 
accomplished artisans in the whole of India. The hereditary guilds of 
temple-builders were constrained by the Islamic authorities to change their 
orientation, and create structures of an entirely new order in the form of 
mosques and tombs. However, in such circumstances, of all the provincial 
styles which emerged under Islamic rule, that which flourished in Gujarat 
is the most indigenously Indian. We can but only passingly mention the 
cities where the Muslim architecture had found its way : Abmedabad, Patan ^ 
Dholka, Cambay, Broach, Campaner, Mahgrol, Junagadh. The monuments 
are in the form of masjida (masques), Riujas, mausoleums, minarets and the 

It is observed: “As to the style, it was the singular fortune of the 
Mahomedans to find themselves among a people their equals in conception, 
their superiors in execution, and whose tastes had been refined by centuries 
of cultivation; while moulding them, they were moulded by them, and though 
insisting on the bold features of their own minaret and pointed arch, they 
were fain to borrow the pillared hall, the delicate traceries, and the rich 
surface-ornaments of their despised and prostrate foe. This combination of 
styles explains why the Muslim architecture assumed in Gujarat a distinct 
local form.” “ 

Texts on civil and religious architecture, such as the ‘Prasadaman^a- 
na’ and ‘Rdjavallahha’ composed by Mandana Sutradhara, hailing from 
Patan, discuss the architectural style of Gujarat which has a close connection 
with that of the shrines erected by the Calukyan kings in the Kanarese 
districts. Generally the lesser shrines had only a small porch or ‘Mandapa' 
in front, whilst the larger ones had halls attached either closed in or open at 
the sides. In some of the largest temples like that at Modhera there was a 
detached open hall variously called the 'Sabhamandapa’ or assembly hall, 
the ‘Rangamandapa’ — painted hall or theatre, and the ‘Nftya said’ or dancing 
hall, wherein assemblies were held for discussion, dramatic shows, dancings 
etc , which could no^propqjrly take place in the smaller porch. 

The ‘Sikhara’ is one of the most characteristic features of a Hindu 
temple and when it exists, it indicates at once the order or style to which the 
building belongs. The temples of Gujarat have a distinct style of spires 
which taper upwards, with or without smaller forms of Sikharas clustered 
against the central spires. Though the origin of the form of the ’3ikhara’ is 
obscure and is a subject of archaeological discussion, its object for being 

43. Hope & Fergussop, Arphitgcturs of Ahmedihdi, p. 42. 



over a shrine is obvious enough; like the towers on Western (lurches* and 
the Minars of mosques, it is a landmark to guide the worshippers to the 
sacred centre. So also is the flag-staff, with its flag and bells added over it, 
which can only be planted in the finial or Kalasa when the image has been 
installed and the shrine consecrated for worship. 

The earliest masonry was of brick; for, building stone was not found in 
the northern plains of Gujarat, and when used, it had to be brought from 
Dhrangadhra in Saurastra, Ahmadnagar in Idar or from the ArwaUi Hills to 
the North. Large bricks of the very old type are frequently dug up round 
villages like Pahcasar; and over a large area about the Modheri temple, the 
ground to a considerable depth was shown to be full of very old brick-work. 
The Intva Stupa on Mount Girnar is so named because of its bricks of the 
K^atrapa period. The courses, too, of the massive embankments round old 
tanks such as the Sahasralihga Talao were of solid brick work, the outer 
facing only being of stone. 

The sites of the ancient cities of Valabhipurain Saura^ti'a and of 
Candravat! in Northern Gujarat abound in brick mounds — the remains of 
many temples that were destroyed by the Mahomedans in the 14lh and 15 
centuries. Except in the Rudra Mahalaya at Siddhpur, such huge blocks of 
stones are not found in the Gujarat temples which are constructed without 
mortar. The stones are carefully dressed and they retained their positions 
by the mere weight of the superincumbent masses. Hence whenever the 
foundations subsided or pillars gave way, the loosened stones slided off one 
another and the whole structure fell to pieces. During the 14th century the 
Hindus, whether Brahmanical or Jaina, found little mercy at the hands of 
their Mahomedan conquerors; and their rich shrines were desecrated, 
plundered and demolished at the will or caprice of their masters. The 
temples that were thus desecrated or overthrown by the Muslim invaders 
were left to fall into ruin, and ultimately became a quarry for materials to 
the Mahomedans. But the greatest destruction of these shrines took place 
when the Mahomedans first settled in Gujarat. They dismantled the 
temples wholesale and appropriated the material for construction of their 
first mosques. 

The most prominent characteristic of these Gujarat temples was the 
profuse decoration of the sculptures that covered them and which was distri- 
buted on a definite plan. At first sight, one would be almost bewildered by 
the superabundance of detail on them, though the builders largely followed 
stereotyped plans and designs provided for in the Sastras, from which 
they all worked in common. “ Whilst their florid and arabesque designs 
gre executed with an amount of skill and invention that is simply astonitbing* 

tm Msmaui rAcroit: arts or naMvnat 


&eir figure sculptures -being, however, of very mediocre value. In their 
representations of the hiunan form the head and trunk are often passable, 
.but the legs and arms are generally weak and wanting in muscle. This 
defect has been commented on by different authors and variously ascribed to 
the physical characteristics of the race and to the overlaying of the limbs 
with richly carved ornaments. ” But it is argued by others that art for its 
sake was not a pursuit that attracted the mind of the Hindu, and his sculpture 
was too conventional to be true to ideal types in nature. 

In the representation of their superhuman beings, drapery is scarcely 
expected; and in the temple sculptures when it is intended, it is usually 
indicated by a few lines drawn across the figure and a fold or two on the 
legs and in front of them. This was the convention in the earlier cave-sculp- 
tures and paintings, where a single line indicated the edge of Buddha’s robe 
across the breast from the left shoulder. In the figure of Tirthankara 
IR^abhadeva of Anhilpatan, the lines of the loin cloth appear just over the 
hands, and the ends of it are seen below the crossed ankles. So also the 
figures of Surya, the Sun-God at Modhera, are shown to wear a jacket with 
richly embroidered neck and front, yet the breasts are carefully represented* 
Still his person is clad in the dress of the northerners so as to be covered 
from the feet upwards to the bosom. Similarly drapery is distinctly shown 
in folds upon the legs only of certain figures on pillars which lose none of 
their outline by this skin-tied clothing. 

Ornaments are chiselled with the utmost care and minuteness of finish 
on necklaces, bracelets and chains. Forbes has referred to the zeal of the 
Hindus in Gujarat for building temples : “ It is a curious fact that after 
each succeeding storm had swept over the land, the Hindus are observed 
proceeding in the old way, establishing the passive vitality of their institu- 
tions. Mahomud Ghazni had hardly accomplished his disastrous homeward 
retreat, leaving behind him Anhilwad despoiled, and Somanatha a heap of 
ruins, when the sound of the hammer and of the chisel was heard upon 
Arasur and Abu, and stately temples began to arise at Kumbharia and Delvada, 
in which an elaboratioa and a finish almost incredible seem to express the 
founder’s steadfast refusal to believe in the Mlechha invader or iconoclastic 
destroyers, as other than the horrid phantoms of a disturbing dream.” 

As the Mahomedan architecture ofAhmedabad holds an important place 
in the history of Fine Art in India, it is necessary to say a few words about its 
genesis and character. From the time when Vimala Shah, the devout Jaina 
minister of Bhimadeva SolankI, erected his superb temple on Mount Abu in 
1032 A. D., to the final conquest of Gujarat by the Mahomedans at the close 
of tiie 13tb century, the Jainas had by their patronage exercised a powerful 



influence on the architecture of Western India. The Saracenic architecture 
of Ahmedabad owes its peculiarly elegant and pleasing character to the fact 
that it is essentially derived from the local Jaina forms which it replaced.. 

Not less important, it must be confessed, was the dependence of the 
conquerors on the conquered in respect of the materials and the builders. 
When Ahmed Shah decided to establish his capital on the site of the ancient 
city of Karnavati, he must have found there many old Hindu temples, whose 
destruction afforded him materials for his buildings. In the Jami Masjid and 
in many of the earlier mosques in the city, pillars and ceilings are to be found 
that have been transferred from the older temples, and many a delicately 
sculptured work of art were scornfully thrown into walls and foundations. 
The finest edifices of the old capital of Anhilvad, and of the remoter city of 
Candravatl, were ruthlessly plundered for material, throughout the whole 
period of Mahomedan rule in Gujarat. For fresh material the conquerors 
resorted to the said stone-quarries of Ahmadnagar (Idar) and Dhrangadhra 
or the marble hills of the Ajmer district. The builders and artisans employed 
by Ahmed Shah and his successors were probably Hindus and hereditary 
craftsmen. All these circumstances explain why the Saracenic architecture 
assumed in Ahmedabad a distinct local form, as it did in other places such 
as Mandu, Jaunpur and Bijapur. The present stone-carvers at the marble 
quarries of Makran, near Jodhpur, are Muslims, whose forefathers helped in 
the earlier building work. 

Beginning ivith the accession of Ahmed Shah in 1410 the Saracenic 
architecture of Ahmedabad continued steadily to develop for the next hun- 
dred years, until it reached its perfected form at the death of Sultan Maho- 
mud Begda in 1511. The Indo-Saracenic architecture of Ahmedabad may be 
said to have reached its golden age during the long and glorious rule of 
Mahomud Begda. Like the masterpieces of the Gothic art of Mediaeval 
Europe the Indo-Saracenic architecture of Ahmedabad was essentially reli- 
gious in character as is amply illustrated by the mosques and mausoleums 
that were raised during this period. To Mahomud Begda’s reign, however, 
belong two monuments which are primarily utilitarian in iheir object and 
the conception of which the architects of the end of the 15th century evi- 
dently borrowed from preceding Hindu ’period. They are the two step- 
wells, known as Bai Harir’s Vav and Adalaj Vav. 

During this period of growth and prosperity in Gujarat the style had 
assumed two distinct forms — the one a combination of the Jaina and Maho- 
medan element, the other almost wholly Jaina. After the conquest of 
Gujarat by Akbar the monuments of every class became fewer and less 
pleasing, but the spirit of art, as observed by Fergusson, was inherent in 

XHK msamsc rAcroR; arts or pirasors 


the people, and whenever it had an opportunity it still cropped out, but more 
in their tombs and smaller buildings than in their mosques or palaces. - 

We have already shown how Islam directly or indirectly had been 
gathering spiritual nourishment from India partly by intellectual intercourse 
and partly by racial assimilation. The materials for the study of the impact 
of Hinduism upon Islam and vice versa, are abimdant in Giijarat, from the 
time independent dynasties mostly of Indian descent began to set themselves 
up in the more distant provinces of the Delhi empire. The craftsmen of 
these Indo-Mahomedan courts began to revive the finest traditions of Hindu 
culture in their wonderful mosques, palaces, public gardens, wells, bathing 
places, and irrigation works consecrated as of old to the service of the one 
God whom the Brahmins worship as Hvara, Mahomedans as All^. ‘*Ahme- 
dabad, the capital of Mahomedan Gujarat, was created by the royal craftsmen 
of Rajputana. The Gaur of the Musalman Sultans was a new Lakhvanti; 
Banaras was the mother of Jaunpur; Dhar the mother of Man^u; the royal 
craftsmen of Vijayanagar Rajas built the capital of the Mahomedan dynasty 
of Bijapur.”" 

Islam thus did not alter Indian aesthetic principles or add to them but 
was the unconscious instrument of giving Indian art a new impulse. Nor is 
it surprising that the great political and social upheaval caused by the 
Mahomedan conquest should create a revolution in the technical traditions 
of Indian art. Painting and sculpture were specialized branches of Hindu 
temple>architecture. But when the higher ranks of Hindu painters and 
sculptors — those who painted or sculptured the sacred images — shared the 
common fate of Indian craftsmen, they became Mahomedan slaves. Such 
specialization would to a great extent cease; for neither figure-painting nor 
sculpture was allowed by the strict law of Islam. The painters and sculptors 
became for the most part builders and designers of buildings, and thus Indo- 
Mahomedan building traditions formed a new synthesis of Hindu art. 

We have no special record of any remarkable change in the style of 
building and architecture under the Mughal supremacy, except that we come 
across incidents where Jain» temples, despoiled by fanatics like Aurangzeb 
when he was the Governor of Gujarat were rebuilt. We only incidentally 
mention the incident of defiling the Jaina temple of Cintamani Parsvanath 
built by Santidas Jhaverl, the Nagarseth of Ahmedabad, at a cost of 9 lacs of 
rupees, which was subsequently restored by the orders of Emperor Shah 
Jahan under express Firmans." About a'mile and a quarter North-West of 

44. Havell, Aryan Rule in India, p. 327. 

45. Vide : Descriptive Catalogue of MSS. in the Forbes Gujarat! Sabha, No. 49 
pp. 377-379 on which ie given the gist of these Firmans, written in Persian, 



Ha^hising’s temple was the Shahibag palace, built in 1622 by Sh6b JahSn 
(1616>1622), the then Viceroy of Gujarat. 

After the revival of Vaisnavism in Gujarat by Vallabh§cSrya and 
Vitthale^vara, temples of Balagopala began to multiply in the province. 
But these temples compared quite unfavourably with the richness of sculp- 
ture and carving of the Jaina Derasaras. In a sect where all the fine arts 
were requisitioned for the worship of the deity, it is striking that this art of 
sculpture was totally subordinated by its votaries. This was perhaps done 
in response to the political and social environment of the country under the 
templo-breaking Mahomedans. “In the construction of temples, Vitthale- 
svara followed a plan of his own. He did not approve of the idea of rich 
and costly buildings for temples. He realised that gorgeous temple-buildings 
were not safe under the Mahomedan rule. For this reason, he constructed 
temples of an extremely simple style, popularly known as ‘ Havelis ’. Nothing 
could be seen from outside. From outside appearance his temple would 
appear to be a simple dwelling house. But at the same time great care was 
bestowed on its inside construction. Free passage of light and air was 
always borne in mind.”* 

The Marathas who succeeded the Mughuls could do very little in the 
development of this fine art. But devout Hindus as they were, their rule in 
Gujarat has left some temples; the one on Pavagadh hill was built by Kanthaji 
Kadam in 1727. The beautiful temple at Dakor was built in 1772 at a cost 
of one lac of rupees by Gopal Jagannath Tambvekar, a native of Satara, and 
banker to the Peshwa. The temple of Nagesvara or Candresvara Mahadeva 
was built in 1751 by Antaji Rao, an ofi&cer of the Gaekwads for the mainte- 
nance of which the village of Raj pur was assigned. The temple of Bahucara 
was repaired by Manaji Rao, the younger son of Damaji Rao Gaekwad in 
1783. The Kunda that was restored bears his name even today in ‘ Mana- 
sarovar*. These temples evince their staunch belief in Siva and Sakti, the 
family deities of all warrior castes. The temple of Jadesvara, near Vankaner, 
was built under Mara^ha regime. The new temple of Somanath built by 
Ahalyabai Holkar, and the magnificent ‘ghats' on*^armada, the one at 
Candod, by Malharrao Gaekwad, and the other at Garudesvara by the 
MaharapI of Indore, deserve mention. 

dictated by K. M. Jhaver! to A. B. Jinl. The incident has been further 
pres?rved in a popular ballad by a Jaina author, styled ‘ 51^0 ^ Wlil’. 

Sec also. Bom. Gaz. IV, p. 285. 

46. Mulacandra Teliwala : “Life of Vi^thaleSvara” in Sitidhidvaita Ifonthty, 

TtiB mmamc pactos: abpb or mcAsosB 


VIL SenlptaM 

Indian sculpture in its best period is never a mere embellishinentt 
but an indivisible part of an architectural scheme; and yet a part which 
never loses its individuality as pure sculpture of the highest perfection. 
Apart from architecture it exists in the form of statues. 

The sculptural art in Western India, especially in Gujardt, Saurai?t>^a 
and Marwad during the K^atrapa, Gupta and post-Gupta periods has only 
been scantily brought to light and accordingly has not been properly studied 
so far. 

Gujarat is an art-province which has a dialect of its own, although it 
is related to that of the contemporary currents in the other two branches of 
the Western Sculpture. It appears, mediaeval craftsmen from Gujarat in 
the West and Orissa in the East shared common art-traditions. A reference 
to the existence of the School of Ancient West ” at MarQ, headed by 
Sfhgadhara, representing both the arts of Sculpture and Painting in the 
7th century A. D. has been noted by the Tibetan historian Taranath who 
wrote in 1609 A. D. No links could, however, be established for want of 
representative specimens. 

The discovery of the flourishing Gupta and post- Gupta school of 
sculpture in the former l^ar State, which includes the Mesvo valley, from 
where the beautiful Samalaji sculptures of Mat^kas and VisvarCpa Vi9pu 
are found, and the discovery of early sculptures from Lata, i.e., territory south 
of Baroda, say from the banks of the Viivamitri and the village of Kapur!, 
point out the artistic activity in this area also, during the post-Gupta period. 
The valley of the Sabarmatl and the Hathmati which disclosed the old ruins . 
of Kotyarka temple, has yielded the mother-and-child sculptures of exquisite 
beauty and grace of the same period. ■ The discovery of stylistically similar 
images of Kubera and Haladhara from Kavi, near Jambusara (Dist. Broach), 
and the find of seventh century old sculptures from Junagadh, Vala and 
Kadvar in Saurastra are equally noteworthy. The discovery of a few pieces 
of architectural remains from Pa^an and the find of a Trimurti figure from 
Kathlal, a few miles# from* Kapadvanj, not to mention the even earlier 
image of Lakulisa found near Karvap (now in the Archaeological Museum, 
M. S. University) and the imposing image of Sage Udumbara in the Me^o 
valley and of a Yak^a at Bhinmal of the same period ; the cumulative effect of 
these finds of pre-Solanki sculptures within the last two decades, suggests the 
evolution of a local sculptural art in Western India. References to the plastic 
art in evidence in these elegant sculptures and the Akota bronzes of the pre- 
Solankl period, were naturally out of question in the earlier works bn Tndian 
Art* by Havell, Coomarswamy, Vincent Smith, Codrington and others. 


cavnmAu tasroax or owabat 

Sutradhara Ma^dana who hhiled from Patan and was patronised by 
King Kumbhakarna (ruled 1419>1469 A. D.) of Medapa^ (Mewir) has 
several Sanskf t treatises on Architecture and Sculpture to his credit, which 
enjoyed considerable popularity with artists and craftsmen, throughout the 
length and breadth of India. They are the ‘ Vostu-mandono', ‘Pratada- 
mandana', ‘ Rajavallahha-mandana* and ‘Rupa-maVid^'na’. Mapd&°&’s 
mention of uncommon images of Vispu, seated on human Garuda with either 
eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen or twenty hands is peculiar to Western 
Indian sculpture only; and his texts appear to be a living tradition handed 
down to posterity even upto the present day, as known from available Mss. 
The worship of Vayu and Vayavi, originally the guardian deity of the North- 
West corner, has been a living religion with a section of Vai^yas in Gujarat,' 
the 'Vayadas, and is unique in India, suggesting perhaps the sea-borne trade 
carried on by them with countries to the north-west of the Arabian Sea. 

As in architecture, the Muslim invasion introduced a foreign style of 
sculpture and painting which, however, was completely absorbed after some 
centuries. By the middle of the 15th century, the renaissance in Gujarat 
and Rajputana brought forth a new temple-sculpture and book-illustrations. 

The most famous school of Wood-sculpture in India was that of Gujarat 
with its centre at Patan. Gujarat wood-sculpture is usually part of the 
decoration of temples, Chara deherasaras (miniature-temples connected with 
household worship) and private buildings. Much of it is religious in signi- 
ficance and depicts the deities of the Jaina legends and of stories relating to 
Jainism. The general tendency of this wood-sculpture is ornate, and 
originally it was lacquered in gay colours; but as a whole, it forms a very 
pleasing and interesting aspect of Indian sculptural art, while individual 
pieces often attain heights of great plastic beauty. But wood decays, and 
with the growing demand for stone-edifices, little of this wood sculpture is 
left in situ.*' In Gujarat, a walk through the streets of Surat, Broach, 
Baroda, Ahmedabad, Palanpur or Patan will convince anyone as to their 
quality and excellent workmanship. The reconstructed richly carved 
Martdapa of wood- sculpture in Baroda Musemn is worth a visit. 

Parallel with the stone and wood- sculpture there flourished a Bronze 
(or more correctly brass) art. Beautilul specimens of Jaina and Bauddha' 
metal-imagcs have been discovered from the village Kotyarka-Mahudi io 

47. The famous PaficasarS Pargvanalh temple at Patan built of fine wood-sculp- 
ture of the ISth century has since been made into a stone-edifice, with atone 
sculpture of a derivative style. 



Vijipur Taluki (N. Gujarat) in 1938. The Jaina bronzes from Vali are not 
later than 8th Century A. D. The other interesting discovery of about .one 
hundred images from the site of old Ahkoftaka, modern Ako^a village near 
the Baroda railway line, gives us a glimpse of the type of bronzes that were 
known in the early mediaeval period in Gujarat. The Akota bronzes fully 
corroborate the reference by Taranath as to the ‘Western School of Indian 
Sculpture’ with Srhgadhara as the pioneer artist in the 7th century A. D. 
The discovery of a Standing Buddha bronze image from Bhuj, with an in- 
scription on its pedestal in Brahmi characters of the 7th Century A. D, also 
supports this view. 

VIII. Drawing & Painting 

The generality of names among villagers— mostly agriculturists— both 
in Gujarat and Saurastra are taken from the animal world with which they 
daily deal and engage in their occupation.** Natural environmental world 
thus produced its effect on the mind of this rural population. They di'ew 
these objects as they thought of them, not as they appeared in nature. The 
Pddra Devatd and other uncouth stones besmeared with oil and red vermilion 
which one meets with while just entering a village site, point out the same 
truth of their imagination which could look upon them as images with parti- 
cular well-defined forms. Again, no primitive art is realistic. Only after 
long ages of experimentation we learn to concentrate attention on details 
and on such realistic tales as perspective and colour. 

The rough pictures on walls drawn at the marriage-ceremonies in 
Gujarat or at some religious rituals and festivals of some vows or Vrataa 
such as ‘Nagapancami’ are certainly examples of the crude but homely art 
of drawing which is mostly preserved and handed down from mother to 
daughter and so on in Gujarati homes. Again such an artist is mostly in- 
terested only in what stands for a fish or a serpent or a man; he will show only 
the head, as it is the only important part of the body. Sometimes a profile 
face will be supplied w|th twQ eyes. This is an illustration of the fact that 
the first drawings are “ out of the head ” of the artist. He knows that men 
have two eyes, so he puts them into bis drawing quite regardless of the fact 
which careful observation would show, that when a face is seen in profile, 
only one eye is visible. In like fashion, primitive artist of Gujarat (whose 
specimens are available in some of the eld manuscript collecticns, which 

48. Cf. Names like and a legion 

may be multiplied. 



are thus crudely illustrated) in trying to depict a man moimted <m a borse^ 
will show both oi the man’s legs on the visible side of the horse. 

These drawings are not, at first, the reproductions of the experience 
of an object. They are the projections of the experience of the observer, 
the reproduction of an idea. Its limitations are the limitations of the 
idea. What it contains by way of positive features is what the mind 
tends to emphasize. Gradually, these primitive ideas are seen in scnne cases 
to have developed into decorative design. Men noted that certain animal- 
forms fitted gracefully into certain spaces, and they devised repetitions 
of the form to make a border or surface which seemed to them interest- 
ing. In such a case, the animal-form was very frequently modified so as to 
emphasize balance and symmetry of parts to a degree that departed radi- 
cally from nature. The most popular Hathi-vela, Mora-vela, Phula-vela — 
used in printing or weaving cloth in Gujarat, were the designs of Gujarat 
artisans who carved out the figures on wood with exquisite fineness, which 
gave the printed cloth of Gujarat a wide sale in foreign markets.* These 
decorative designs led them away from the observation of nature. The 
motive here was not to follow closely that which was presented to the eye 
when the object was seen, but to rearrange lines so that they shall mark 
rhythmical successions. 

The next stage to which men moved in maturing the graphic arts of 
drawing and painting was that of reproducing more accurately figure and 
colour. This led to representative drawing and painting or cultivation of 
realism in art. In Gujarat of ancient and mediaeval days, men had much of 
idealism in them, and hence, drawings and paintings that are met with are 
all ‘ Bhavatmaka which means * imaginary and idealistic ’, if translated in 
clear terms. Some of the statues of Jaina Acaryas or of Vastupala and 
Teja]^pala of Vanaraja, of Narasithha Mehta, of Mira, of Bhalana, and a 
host of others in Gujarat and Saurastra can hardly be regarded as those 
from actual life.* 

The Buddhist style of Indian painting exemplified by the wall-frescoes 
in the caves of Ajanta has been assigned partially to painters from Lafa who 
are said to have decorated the ceilings with their pictorial art. Our paint- 

49, A number of printed Calico pieces discovered from the sands of Fustat 
(near Cairo), exported from the Western Indian coast, are published by B. 
Ffister, in 'Lea Toites imprimees de Fustat et I’Hindoustan’, (1838). 

50. See, gpitome of Jainism (1917) by P. C. Nahar andK. Ghosh. The portraits 
of Kumarapfila and his teacher Hemacandra, though indifferently reproduced, 
are interesting specimens of ‘Jaina portraiture ’ , which is a class by Itself. 



ers in the mediaeval times were enjoying wide popularity. Udlcya poet 
Syamilaka (c.500 A.D.) makes mention of artists, known as 'Dindikas’, well* 
versed in the art of canvas-painting and panel or fresco painting, in the 
particular variety of drama known as ‘Bkana*, especially in the one named 
*Pdda-tdditaka’, where among the ^Dindika’ artists Lata ^Dindikas’ are 
specially remembered. The death of Harf^avardhana of Kanauj in f48 
A. D. marks the end of a well-defined epoch in the political as well as in 
the pictorial history of India. 

The geographical limits of mediaeval Gujarat were much wider than 
now, and included much of what is now known as Rajputana. It must, how- 
ever, be recognised that Jainism did furnish the principal clientele if not the 
central inspiration to the school of Gujarati painters; for, the creed of 
Mahavlra had moved northwards after its eclipse and submergence under 
the passionate outburst of South Indian Saivism, which broke out in the 6th 
century A. D. The temples of Delvada and the ruins of Pa^an bear witness 
to the wealth and influence of the votaries of Jainism, which had become the 
State religion during the reign of Kumarapala. The Jaina community seems 
to have been, g merally speaking, always prosperous; and appears to have taken 
special pains to build up and conserve valuable collection of Mss. It is for 
this reason that a large number of pre-Moghul works — ^remnants of literature 
and art — come from old Jaina Bhandaras. 

There is a considerable amount of material— religious and secular— 
to illustrate the pictorial art of Gujarat, which is of extraordinary interest 
and importance for the knowledge of the common life of the people — their 
manners, costumes and modes of living. The material consists primarily 
of illustrated Mss. and painted boards of wood (Kdsthapa^ikd) , There 
are also a few examples of portraiture of this school, and it is possible 
that we may discover some old ‘Letters of Apology’ or Ksamdpand or 
Vijnaptipatra which the Jaina laity and clergy prepared with so much care 
and embellishment for sending them to their Ecclesiastical Head of the 
neighbouring place on the * Sdmvatsarika " — the last and the holiest of their 
eight days’ festival of fasts. 

There is one letfcr paibted by a court-painter of Jahangir, depicting a 
deputation of the disciples of Vijayasena Suri to his court when the tolerant 
policy of Akbar — ^by which the killing of animals on the days of Paryusana 
festivals throughout the empire was prohibited, and the general amnesty was 
granted to prisoners and caged birds — had been partially reversed by his 
successor Jahangir. It is this historical incident w hich is the subject-matter 
of the ‘letter for forgiveness’, sent by the Jaina congregation of Agra to their 
celebrated Guru, Vijayasena Suri, who was then at Devapattan in Sau- 
rastra. This pictorial roll was drawn by Ustad galivahan, the court-painter. 

19 ‘ 


euLTvttAL HBTOfnr or oojabat 

Artistically speaking the pictures in this roll are probably among the 
finest pictures illustrating the common life of the people. In the portrait of 
Vijayasena Suri, the disciple and successor of Hira Vijaya Suri, we have the 
faithful likeness of a great religious teacher of commanding personality and 
immense learning. It was on account of such men that the Jainas were able 
to secure privileges from the Muslim Court. Sadhiis are dressed in spotless 
white and carrying the massive chowries — characteristic of Jaina Svetambara 
clergies. The writers of these K^amapana letters used them as convenient 
media for bringing to the notice of the ecclesiastical heads their capacity for 
literary, artistic or philosophical expressions. The letter referred to above is 
dated V. S. 1667 and is written in Gujarati, with a considerable admixtime 
of the then current Hindi." 

According to Col. Forbes, Karna Solanki had received a portrait- 
painter, who had travelled in many countries and who stood at the door 
seeking permission to appear in his presence with good favour. When the 
painter submitted to the King a roll of pictures among which was seen the 
picture of Minala Devi, his future queen and the illustrious mother of Siddha- 
raja. llie tale is of interest as it proves that the mediaeval Hindu kings of 
Gujarat encouraged the art of portrait-painting.” The stately kingdom of 
Siddharaja and Kumarapala was lost by Karpadeva Vagbela, the last 
Hindu prince of Gujarat, and was incorporated into the empire of Delhi 
in 1297 A. D. 

It was made into a separate principality in 1414 A. D. by Muzaifarkhan; 
and, though it continued under Muslim domination for several centuries, its 
arts and crafts did not lose their individuality. The Hindu-Moslcm architec- 
ture of Ahmedabad shares the unique flistinction of achieving a happy 
synthesis of conflicting ideals as embodied in edifices of lasting glory. The 
pictures of Vasanta Vilasa, however, though executed after a century and 
a half of Muslim domination in Gujarat, are absolutely unaffected by foreign 
influences. It appears that the art of painting could expect very little of 
patronage from Mahomedan rulers of the land, to whom most of the fine 
arts were against the dicta of the Koran.” l 

51. t, S. edited by MuniJinavijayaji. 

52. R&sa Mila, page 105. 

53. Of the six ordinarily recognized fine arts— architecture, sculpture, painting, 
dancing, music and poetry — Islam tabooes the second regularly, and the third 
in most cases, though in these last cases human nature has been too strong 
for it. Hence it seems likely that the architects of the great Islamic build- 
ings were regularly foreigners, either members of other religions, or 
converts to Islam from them. There is no doubt that IslSmic decoration 

rm AnTBcnc vacior: arts or fueastox 


The painting of Sathia {Swastika) and ‘ RahgoU' (Rafigavali) is an essen* 
tially bourgeois art, akin to the art which expresses itsell even at the present 
day in mural decorations and exquisite albeit ephemeral displays of geometri- 
cal patterns, in a variety of colours in front of the middle class hemes in Gu- 
jarat on festive occasions.** Though the appeal of such an art is not primarily 
emotional, it springs from the depth of the innermost consciousness and innate 
joy in life, and therefore succeeds in portraying the actual life of reality and 
ideals, with its bewildering nuances — ^trivial and sublime, physical and spirit- 
ual, gross and subtle as one complex unity. Though not so accomplished as 
the school of temple-painting or the court-art of princes, it is of exceptional 
value as a unique, comprehensive and popular record of the every-day life 
of the people. 

The Raiigoll drawings are filled in with beautiful taints mixed and 
graduated according to the fancy of the artist and surrounded by highly 
original decorative details of flowers, fruits, birds, animals or figimcs treated 
conventionally or realistically. These pictures of which no two were the 
same, although the subjects treated had to be identical, are painted. The 
prepared surface of cow-dung is moistened and the colours are mixed and 
rubbed in as a pigment with the fingers. The process is nearer to painting 
than to pastel. The art of Rangoli in one form or another is more or less 
general among the high class Hindus of Gujarat. The Sathia or sand-pic- 
ture is drawn upon the floor with white sand and coloured powder manipu- 
lated with fingers and not with a brush.** The design is drawn upon the 
floor without any kind of guiding lines except dots put in without measure- 
ments to mark the points and without pencil or brush. 

On all auspicious occasions — upon the birth of a child or at the thread 
and marriage ceremonies, at the Gauri Pujana vow, at the Nagapancami day. 

exhibits a considerable amount of originality. This consists largely of elabo- 
rate geometrical designs, worked in stone, wood, and mosaic. 

54. Even Pfirsi women draw luck chalk-marks on and in front of the threshold. 
These are not different from those made by Hindus. They arc made of any 
white powder, chalk bein^ adopted as convenient. In most families the lucky 
or spirit-scaring power of these patterns is forgotten. The common belief is 
that any figure, line, or curve that is graceful or catches the fancy may be in- 
introduced. These marks are made on holy days and other festive and joyous 
occasions. Some make them daily, except when in mourning.— Bom. Gas., IX, 
ii, p. 209, foot-note. 

55. Narsiihha Kehtfi efers to this socio-religious art of painting in a reception 
song : 

^ in Bwwi Bifw : 

qwwi w ffi: Ir dl wianft 1 ” 



at the Navaratra festival, and at the feast of Lamps (£>iwill),—4he GujarStl 
women resort to their delightful drawing. Early in the morning the girl 
would begin that delightful use of art as the indispensable adjunct of her 
devotions by drawing round the pedestal of the sacred Tulasi plant before 
which she performed her pUjd, a Rahgoll or sand-picture. This decoration 
in vivid colours, consisted of running border with the symbol of tire 
‘Swastika’ at its four corners. 

A distinctive Gujarati school of Miniature-Painting flomrished from 
the 11th to the 16th centuries in the region of old Gujarat which was integral- 
ly a part of Rajasthan. The bulk of paintings of this School were produced 
in what is now called Gujarat; and apparently the word ‘Gujarat’ was 
considered a mark of distinction, and used by singers, painters and other 
artisans, at any rate during the regime of Akbar. Names of Bhima Gujarati, 
Kesho Gujarati and Madho Gujarati are given in the Ain-UAkhari. The 
term ‘ RajasthSni ’, has been associated with the paintings mostly of the 17th 
and the 18th centuries, originally derived from the ‘ School of Ancient West*. 

The variety of sui jecls depicted in the various Jaina and non-Jaina 
illustrated Mss. makes it clear that the Western Indian School had a wider 
geographical extension and considerable and justifiable vogue in the days of 
its glory. The evolution of Rajasthani as well as Punjabi Schools of Paint- 
ing, including the Basholi pictures, as well as the purely Mughal School is 
vitally connected with the older traditions of Gujarati painting. 

The Western school of painting flourished in Rajputana, Malwa, Central 
India and Gujarat and survived in the inaccessible retreats of the Thar 
desert, the Aravallls, Saura^tra and Eastern Gujarat. But under unfavour- 
able conditions, consequent on the Muslim, conquest of the Punjab, the art 
quickly petrified to a set of purely ornamented formulas for the illustration 
of religious palm-leaf and paper manuscripts, which alone had a chance 
to escape Muslim iconoclasm. 

Under the toleration of the Sultans of Ahmedabad, however, the ossified 
West-Indian palm-leaf style fiirst assumed a rather fashionable elegance; and 
then with the greater facility of drawing provided by tiie introduction of paper, 
was transformed into a vivid folk-style of a very charming naivete. However, 
as their typology was already fixed, the Jaina relapsed, after a 
short-lived renaissance, into a dead mannerism, and came to a modest life 
only much later, under the influence of Mughal and Rajaput art. The case 
was different with Hindu book-illustrations. The creative initiative of the 
artists had been kindled again under the popular mass-enthusiasm of Bbakti; 
and the popularity of the Bhagavata Purdna, the Devi Mdhdtmya, the Gita- 
Govinda and the Bdlagopdla Stuti, called for illustrations of a free treatment 

XHB ssmamc factob; abus of fuasobe 

of themes. Already in the Jaina Kalakac&rya Katkd, the painters had 
ventured to depict the Saka protectors and later converts of the Jainas in 
contemporary Muslim costumes. They went further and composed new 
scenes with a freer treatment of traditional old types. Even the Sansk]l 
love-tale Madhava^Kamakatidola Katkd and the episode of Bilhana Pancdsikd 
called for a de luxe edition with miniature-paintings, illustrative of the text. 
The secular roll of Vasanta Vildsa miniatures is known all over the 

There are divergent views regarding the aesthetic appeal of Western 
Indian school of miniature-painting. The early palm-leaf illustrations are 
imbued with a sense of direct expression, which is a characteristic of the 
primitives. In the course of time, however, the early formulas are hardened 
into conventions which are repeated with such mechanical precision that the 
paintings lose much of their aesthetic significance; and the Mss. appear to 
be the painted copies of the original, turned out, perhaps, to meet the 
popular demand, which wanted to get religious merit by subscribing to its 
moderate cost. Some of the 16th century Mss. are distinguished by their 
beautiful border decorations, the motifs of which are drawn from contem- 
porary Islamic architecture and book-painting. 

The time-limit of this mediaeval Western painting is from 1100 A. D. 
(Samvat 1157) when the Mss. of Nisithacurni were painted at Broach in 
the reign of Jayasimha Siddharaja, to about the end of the 16th century, 
when under the influence of the newly founded Mughal School, the signific- 
ance of the style was lost. 

Gujarat, as we know, was a centre of calico-printing; and it exported 
printed calico to Africa and Asiatic countries from the 11th to 16th century. 
No textile materials have survived from this period in Gujarat proper, and 
the only source for the knowledge of the patterns and colours employed by 
the textile-printers of Gujarat are these paintings. That the painters took 
the designs from the contemporary art of textile-painting is supported by 
the actual appearance of such designs on the contemporary printed calico 
pieces from Gujarat, discovered in the sands of Fustat, near Cairo in Egypt. 

The fame of the Gujarati craftsmen appears to have been on a par with 
that of the painters who were invited to the Royal Studio at Delhi, for one 
of the finest structures in Akbar’s city Fatehpur-Sikrl, Jodhbai’s Palace, was 
entrusted to “artisans from Gujarat, one 6f the groups of workmen brought 
from distant parts to speed up the production of this vast project”." 

56. Percy Brown, Indian Architecture : Muslim, pp. 96-99. 



A remarkable change in figure-drawing from the style is 

marked in the angularity of drawing seen in the wall-painting at Ellorfi : 
Kailasa Mandir (8th to 10th century A. D.) in ‘Vi§ 9 u riding on Garuda’. 
The angularity in the features and the farther eye protruding in space, closely 
resemble the persons depicted in the early 12th century illustrated palm-leaf 
Mss. from Gujarat. The remnants of wall-paintings in Western and Central 
India at Lalitpur, near Jhansi, are more related to the Western Indian minia- 
ture-paintings of 12th to 14th century. Their chief interest lies in the angu- 
larity of drawing, pointed nose and the protrusion of farther eye into space, 
and conventional treatment of trees, birds and animals. 

The Western Indian School of painting seems to have exercised some 
influence on the wall-paintings of the Buddhist temple at Pagan, in Burma, 
assignable to the 13th century on stylistic grounds. The beginning of linear 
conception of painting is thus traced to the Ellura paintings, which found its 
wide expression in Western India. 

Prof. W. N. Brown writes : “ The Western Indian School is one of 
great importance in the History of Indian Painting. For one thing (i) it 
contains all the Western India painting, whe her of large or small dimensions, 
known to exist over a period of some centuries, containing the sequence of 
the frescoes at Ajanta, Bagh, and Ellura; for another (ii) it is the parent on 
the Indian side, that in union with the Persian School, on the other side, 
gave birth to the Rajaput and Mughal styles, so prolifically cultivated and so 
well-known. ” 

A good specimen of religious paintings by a GujarStl artist is found in 
a Sanskrt copy of the 1 0th Skandha of the Bhdgavata with of 

dhara, transcribed by one Suraji at the request of Madhusudandas and richly 
illustrated by Govinda, the son of Narada. It is dated Saihvat 1667.” 

The pictures represent Gujarat! dress of both the males and the 
females as distinguished from that of the Rajaput or the Marwad!. The head- 
dress of the males seems to have been very little influenced by the Maho- 
medan style. These illustrations have short explanatory notes in Old 
Gujarati prose." * *■ 

57. The colophon reads : | 

wrwiTPierT'^if i 

fefefr: n 

58. I give below a few of these explanatory notes, at random, from a copy which 
I possess : — 



The painter class, as forming a section of the artisan class, seemii to 
hold a respectable place in Gujar&ti society, as can be gathered from -the 
reference to the proverb “ ^ ” through the mouthpiece 

of a cit&ra in the Ravana-Mandodan-Sarkv&da. by Samalbhatt. The heroines 
of this poet’s Stories are generally described as accomplished, and know- 
ing all fine arts. Citralekha of Preminand in 'Okkdkarapa’ represents a 
clever artist who could draw the lifelike portrait of Aniruddha.** But 
these may be idealisations, and not actualities in the society of Gujar§t. 

IX. Music & Dance 

The important inroad by which art has entered the daily life of Indian 
people is through the domain of folk-music and folk-dance. Sarngadeva 
(12th Century A. D.) has defined the indigenous dance, music and musical 
instruments, as that which catches the popular ear and touches the very 
heart of the people of various lands and climes. Such local (D^si) tunes are 
consequently named after their original place of birth, such as Gaudi, 
Veradi, Gurjari, Malava, Karnataki, Saindhavi, Sorathi, Maru, and after 
specific cities, like Bilaval (Veraval), Khambhayati (from Khambhat) and 
the like. 

The varied nature of the occupational folk-element native to Gujarat 
itself has helped to shape the artistic tendencies of the people. This 
embraces many occupational trades and their idealisations : of the hunter, the 
shepherd, the peasant, the seaman, and the merchant. The arts and crafts 
are so associated with the wonderfully variegated designs of these occu- 

“ ateilfe I fwi I 

sagf® =5151, feJt «r 0, 'dtfs I 

fjsoi *Rkr ^ gfe i 

li®n \ 

gwi ^ qairrfs, g*T, I 

5ift, I ” etc. 

59. “ ^i®3l : 

g»K wr: 'K, 555r g'?r«T, ^ ^ ' 

^ ^ ga; 

‘ iir, in *iRi di ^ 



pational activities, that each of these cultures, native and foreign, has been 
developed in history, and has been reacting on the intellectual life of the 
Gujarati people, 

A passing reference to the religious history of Gujarat suggests that 
when the people of Gujarat followed either the Sakti-worship or animism, 
the ‘ Garaha ’ was the popular folk-dance. Later on with the development 
of the ‘Rasa’ or the cowherd-dance (evolved from the ‘halliaaka’ and the 
*lasya’ of the treatises on music), Vaisnavism came to be preached in 
Gujarat; and as a result, the Sakta and animistic beliefs were artistically bh nd- 
ed together, evolving a novel form of secular dance. All the Sakta and 
animistic beliefs and practices which the converts to Vaisnavism carried 
in the depths of their hearts, could not be eradicated root and branch. The 
inner urge for dance and song among the people of Gujarat, thus bursts forth 
year after year during the festival of Durgapuja, and extends to nine nights 
and days (Navaratra). It invariably continues upto the full-moon night of 
Asvin, the glorious night of Sr! Kpsna’s ‘Rasakrlda’. These ‘Garaba’- 
songs and the dance connected with them are essential contributions to 
Gujarat! literature, dance and art. 

The'garabo’, originally a many-holed ghata (earthen pot) with a 
burning lamp inside it, when placed on the head of a lady is comparable to 
the starry dome of the heavens, handled by the Mal.a-sakti. Ihe word 
‘Garabo’ came to be applied to the singing party itself, where men, but oftener 
women, move round and round in a circle, and sing to the accompaniment 
of a rhythmical clap of hands and feet. The dance rs in motion, as well as 
the songs composed for this occasion are known by the common name 
‘ Garabo ’. In the ‘ garabo ’, there is colour'and music, grace and sweetnt ss. 
It is a beautiful art-form, a unique mode of culture and a self-expression 
of the people, which is one of the hnest contributions of Gujarat to the art 
heritage of India. 

The musical propensities of the Vpsnis who settled on the Western 
sea-shore of Saurastra are a familiar feature inrSansl^rit literature. Krsna 
belonged to this clan of Yadavas. The Harivarhsa describes their dancing 
sports, such as the dance with the accompaniment of sticks (Dan^a-rSsaha) 
and the one with the accompaniment of clapping of hands (Tdla-rSsaka) . 
In a painting in the Bagh caves, situated on an ancient road connect- 
ing Gujarat with Malwa, depicting a music party, can be observed a typical 
scene from the life of mediaeval and modern Gujarat. Nowhere else in 
India are women to be seen going round in a dance keeping time with 
small sticks (da^daka or danda) held in either hand. 



fHje dance in circular motion, wherein one leads and the others follow, 
just as 0ri>K]:$9a led the Gopis, is called Halliaaka or Riaaka or shortly 
Rdaa. Two traditions have come down to us, as mentioned in old works on 
Music, through which Rasa-dance came to be current in Saura^ra. The 
technique of Hsya (tender type of dance) was transmitted to U§a, the 
daughter of Bapa, by Parvatl out of affection for her. She in turn expounded 
it before the lasses of cowherds of Dwarki, which came to be later on handed 
down to the ladies of Saurastra in succession. U$a was married to Kffpa’s 
grandson Aniruddha. The second source of this dance came from Arjuna, 
who was instructed in it by Gandharva Citraratha at the bidding of Indra. 
Arjuna transmitted this knowledge (very akin to the Mapipurl dance of 
to-day) to Uttara, who was married to Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra, 
Sr! Kirsna’s sister. However, Uttara could not transmit her knowledge of 
this dance in the public, owing to her premature widowhood. 

Three varieties of dances are mentioned by Saradatanaya in his ‘ Bkava 
Prakdsana’ (12th century A. D.) : the danda~rdaaka, the iala-raaaka and the 
latd-rdsaka, in the last of which the dancers cling to each other while 
dancing, as a creeper clings to a tree, resembling the Western ball-dance of 
to-day. Thus ‘ Garabo ’ is pre-eminently a Gujarati institution and women 
of Gujarat have preserved this domestic art from generation to generation. 

In Gujarat and Saurastra, specialists in music could not thrive for 
want of State patronage, as well as for want of general taste among common 
men. The vocal contribution of the common people in Gujarat, is seen from 
work-songs, folk-songs, grinding-songs, powdering songs and the like. The 
common men and women returned to music for solace. There was the work- 
song, intended to keep a group of workers in harmony in their action, just 
as modern sailors are kept together when they sing at their tasks or as sol- 
diers are kept in step by singing as they march. 

The other .social contribution to music was the chanting intonation 
which the story-teller, either a Bhata, Carapa or a poet-laureate, or a Purapi 
or a Kathakara, cultivated when he modulated his voice to fit the meaning 
of his narration. The Manabhats and Harikirtanakaras of Gujarat and 
Saura^ti^a were- the popular narrators of Paurapic lore throughout the 
mediaeval period. The institution though fading in the glare of Cinemas, 
Theatres and other public amusements is still doing its mite in the rural 
areas, and they can be said to be serving the humanity in that they are 
keeping the general Hindu culture alive," throughout the hearts of millions 
of men and women. The institution deserves over-hauling, no doubt, but it 
has many vital germs in it of future rejuvenation of the Hindu society 
at its hands, if a regular training is arranged for securing efiSciency in their 



mission as well as their literacy, suited to the changed life>conditions of the 

It is a long history during which the voice and the musical instrument 
have been gradually attuned to one another. The professional bard, a 
or or CF5-iIW?noSt, who chanted the hero-stories, did not synchronise 

his vocal performances with the sounds from his harp. He struck the harp at 
the beginning of the chant and punctuated the pauses in his vocalisation 
with instrumental string. It was not until relatively recent times that the 
voice and the instrument attempted pitches of the same order. A kind of 
artificiality in developed music thus came to be associated. 

The scientific or advanced music was known as Marg!, the common 
music was called Desi. Because, while the development was going forward 
under the influence and support of religion and temple, there was growing 
up a body of popular folk-songs, and professional music of a secular 
character. Music like every other human institution is the result of a 
gradual accumulation of what may be called the social capital. 

In the communal life of Gujarat the music has played a very important 
part. It is interwoven with the very life of the people. For religious pur- 
poses, as well as for social functions, for the rich as well as for the poor, 
music is considered indispensable. A marriage function or an entertainment 
of any kind without music is practically inconceivable here. Music has 
always been recognized as a path to the realization of God, it being included 
among the sixteen modes of worship. It has ever been the hand-maiden of 
devotion. Till very lately all musical compositions were the spontaneous 
outcome of religious zeal and devotion. From the simplest folk-songs to 
the wonderfully complex compositions, there, runs through all the various 
grades and kinds of music a stream of fervent devotion and selfless 
adoration of the Divine. The stories of the various Heroes and Avataras 
from Epics and Puranas are written in song in almost all the vernaculars 
of India. And our Hindu women used to sing all these as they went about 
their household duties. Present-day women are slowly getting further 
and further away from our old traditions, the traditicjns which have kept 
Indian culture intact, in spite of all the onslaughts made on it. Through, 
out the length and breadth of the land, among all classes of people, at all 
levels of culture and education, among men as well as women, one finds 
music playing a very important part in social life. Old traditions agree that 
music is of divine origin and is meant to bean inseparable part of devotion 
to the Supreme. 

The word ‘ Sangita ’ has three essential components : ‘ Gita ’ (singing), 
‘Vadya’ (instrumental accompaniments), and ‘^rtya’ (dance). But when 



we speak of music ordinarily we only mean the first or the second. Dance 
was always associated with and related to singing in ancient times; with 
their divorce, the art of dancing has very much deteriorated and fallen into 

The republics of Sura^^ra are already referred to as being noted for 
their love of music. The people were described by Arrian as * lovers of 
dance and song The musical propensities of Vfisnis are a familiar feature 
in Sanskft literature. The Harivamia describes their ball and music. 
These are the earliest traditions of music and dancing in Gujarat. The 
Hcdlisaka and the Rdsaka are described by Hemacandra in Deii-ndma-mdid 
(8/62) as well as in Dhanapala’s Paiyalaechi-n&ma-mald. The circular dance 
in which one is the leader, as Sri Kp^nd was among cowherd women, 
was called Hallisaka; and a circular concert formed of sixteen, twelve, or 
eight males or females — the number rising up to sixty four couples— by 
whom a song was sung keeping time and pace, was known as a *Rasaka\ 
This is the genesis of our mediaeval ‘DapdiS'i'asa’. 

Thus ' Rasa ’ or congregational music belonging to a pastoral stage of 
society dates in Gujarat from such an early date. The ‘Rasa' of Sri Kp^na in 
Gokula on the full-moon day of Asvin was naturally a favourite theme with 
many of our Gujarati poets. It was more so, because Gujarat has been the 
accredited residence of Sri Kr§na, the popular hero of Gokula and Vrnda- 
vana in the later years of his life. Thus it was that the traditions, brought 
with him in this country, gained ground making for the culture of the people. 

As we trace the origin of Rasa from Sri Krgna, so also the original 
home for the ‘Lasya’ dance, peculiarly suited to females, is connected with the 
name of Usa, the grand-daughter-in-law of Sri Kri§na. Sarhgadeva (12th 
century A. D.) while describing the variety of dance in the 7th chapter of 
Sangltaratnakara writes : “Siva made Parvati to expound the technique of 
Lasya dance before Bharata, which Parvati taught to U?a; U?a showed 
it to the Gopis of Dwarka, who in their turn explained to the women of 
Surastra, and from thence the ladies of other countries learnt it : thus was 
transmitted the knowledge of this dance in succession.® The tradition about 

60 . 

ii w ii 

ii < ii 

vs jrfsfew; i ” 




Narsithha Mehta, of his having seen the Basa of Kf ipna in a trance, is sup- 
ported by a body of Padas known as * Rasa-sabasrapadi *. It was tite unison 
of three things at a time— dancing, clapping and singing— that made a 
‘Rasa’." The Gurjarl lady is considered the best in the art of Lasya dance.” 

The ' garaho ’ is the next variety of female singing and music peculiar 
to Gujarat. It is generally associated with the worship of Sakti in the nine 
days’ festival falling in Asvin. It is the autumnal festival that lends a charm 
to the midnight songs of Gujarati ladies moving in a circle with perforated 
earthen pots with lamps in them shining on the head like stars in firmament.” 
Bhanadasa of the late 17th century and Vallabha Bha^t of the 18th century 
Sariivat are believed to have first brought into vogue the ‘ Garabo’ for ladies, 
who worship the tender Mother in the form of Durga or Sarada. “ A garabo 
is a singing party where men but oftener women move round and round in a 
circle, and sing to the aci:ompaniment of a rhythmical and uniform clap of 
hands”.” A more concentrated piece, less descriptive and treating of one pas- 
sion or one situation is known as a * Garahi ’. It is generally recited by ladies. 
Dayaram the last representative of mediaeval Gujarati poets, has given 
us some exquisite pieces of this kind which are simply unapproachable. 

The Brahmin ladies of Gujarat and principally those of the Nagar 
caste are said to have kept up the traditions in singing and playing upon 
instruments through the course of history. It is seen from a Sanskrt eulogy 
dated 1384 A. D. inscribed in a step- well in a village near Junagadh, sunk by 
two daughters Harhsa and Jasu of Minister Dhandha, a Nagar by caste, where- 
in they are described as well-versed in singing and playing on instruments.” 

61. “ g% npt, ^ & d ^ srm : 

fw in4 qpt, ^ 

62. See, Srlkaptha’s Rasakaumudi : 

“ sfHrgfrPT^n ft® i ” 

63. “ <»i Jn : 

JTtI 8?^?t 5[i9ri 

*n«i : 

*Tit ^^1 tn in <>Rrra'i. ” 

— u?. 

64. Milestones in Gujarati Literature, by K. M. Jhaveri, p. 35 f. 

65. “ ifift W fjiur I ft.® fts^ni^sfl I 

I \ Q?r gw II ” 

Quoted by Mansankar Mehta in Ndgurotpatti on p. 157 fn. Sixth Gujarati Sihitya 
Pari^ad Report. 

tHi xsaaenc vactob ahts nAnsunc 


The ‘Marga* style as outlined by the great musician Bharata does not 
seem to have prospered under the Hindu kings of Gujarit. The Northern 
Indian style of music which had evolved under the Mughal patronage with 
its personal influence does not seem to have gained ground in Gujarat. How- 
ever, the reputed singer Baijii (Baijanath-Vaidyanath) who made the 
Sultin stop the massacre at Campaner having been pleased by his scientific 
music is an exception.* Sultan Mujaffar Shah II (1511-1525 A. D.) of 
Gujarat who was a finished horseman, a practised swordsman and a skillful 
wrestler has also been described to be an accomplished musician able to play on 
many instruments, and to hold his own against any master of musical science. 
Under such a lover of music one would have expected noted musicians to 
have adorned his court. But the historical chronicles are silent on this point. 

We may believe, however, that at least some of the scientific Ragas 
were mastered by poets and devotees. The incident mentioned in “Mdmeru” 
by Premanand referring to Narsimha Mehta’s invoking rain by singing 
Malhara Riga can be cited as a good example. The incident testifies to the 
great skill and mastery the devotee-poet had acquired over the particular 
type of melody.* Tradition has connected Narsirhha Mehta’s proficiency in 
another Riga ‘ Kedara ’ also. When the Vaispava protestant of Jfinagadh 
was persecuted at the court of Mandalika, and his devotion was put to a 
severe test, he was required to ask God Dimodara to put around his neck 
the garland of mogra flowers dedicated to the idol, if his Bhakti was 
genuine. His Lord took recourse to a counter-test, and showed his readiness 
to help him if he was humoured by a song in Riga Kedara. Narsixhha could 
not accede to this desire, as the melody was mortgaged to one Dharapidhar 
for a sum of Rs. 60. Unless the pledge was redeemed, Dimodara’s favourite 
Riga could not be sung. Tradition has described how Dimodara redeemed 
it, assuming the form of Mehti.® The incident suggests that there existed 
expert singers in Gujarit, as well as persons who could advance a loan on a 
verbal pledge not to sing a Riga.® 

66 Mirat-i-Sikandari.t • 

67. ‘ittenaftltersnsii, 

qwt altig, qq qsti spn^ tii® u ’ 

— ‘5TR^» ^ V 

68. Vide, Narasiihha Mehta Kdvya Sa'ngraha,( 1912),' Haramila ’. 

69. df. : A similar story is told of Todi Sitaramayya, who was attached to the 

Tiiijore Palace. He was a spendthrift, and often found himself in pecuniary 
difficulties. One of his creditors insisted on the payment of a debt due to him 
and finding SItfirimayya utterly unable to pay, asked him to pledge his TodI 



The groups or man^lta of villagers in Saura^tra and Gujarit are 
such masters of the art of producing rhythms that they can beat more than 
one rhythm at a time. They tap with the feet at one rate and with the 
hands at another. This is a feat which requires much training, because the 
natural tendency of the nervous system is to act as a unit and to stimulate 
all the motor organs with a single impulse. 

The Bhajana was truly a family entertainment — all the inmates of 
the house, both old and young, combining after the day’s toil is over, to form 
the merry party. “Tarabura and Ekatara open with a simple air, the leader 
introduces the theme, seconds and thirds take it up, Dholaka adds its volume, 
and the chorus of Mahjira-players joins in, every member not already busy 
with some other instrument striking his or her brazen discs— more properly 
zinc discs— hence called ‘Kahsi Joda ’, referred to in companies of saints like 
Narsiihha Mehta, until the resonant bell-like sound of the pairs of ringing 
hands joins with the full-voiced choir, drums, stringed instruments and Kara- 
tala— all helping to raise the roof or rather the stars, and to make the welkin 
ring. For a time, the whole family is transported into an uproarious com- 
pany, intent apparently upon producing the utmost volume of noise. Yet 
such is the wonderful combination of string, of bow, of tightened drum, of 
voice, of bell and of clashing cymbals that the outstanding effect produced 
is of some sudden transportation to a land beyond, where simple folk have 
achieved their own paradise and learnt how to extract the last essence of 
enjoyment from every day existence.’”® 

Raga — a sweet popular melody type — as security, till he discharged the debt. 
A few days passed and the prince began to miss the favourite Todi Riga from 
Sitaramayyi very badly. When asked about it, the musical expert told his 
master how the Riga came to be pledged. The story goes on to say that the 
prince was pleased with the ingenuity of the creditor, and not only redeemed 
SItaramayyi’s pledge, but gave rich presents to him and to Sitiramayyi. 

— Indian Mtisic of the South by R. Srinivisan. 

70. Impreuiona of K&thidw&r, by L. K. Elmhirst in Vtivahhdrati Quorterly, April 

Chapter IX 



1. Language 

Language is one of the fundamentals of gregarious existence. From 
language comes literature, and both affect and are affected by the prevailing 
conditions of society. The Gujaratis came into contact with many alien 
races, with the result that they have a very rich vocabulary, from which our 
writers could draw freely at will, nay, they could actually even make a voca- 
bulary of their own. Even contemporaries like Padmanabha and Karma^a 
Mantri (early 16th century, Vikrama Saihvat), 9§abbadas and Akho (17th 
century V. S.), Premanand and SamayasOndar (middle 18th century V. S.), 
Samal and Vallabhabhatt (late 18th century V. S.), almost seem to be 
talking different languages. 

A freedom from any mixture of Persian and Arabic words, as far as 
possible, characterises the writers of the Brahmin or non-Jaina school, al- 
though Padmanabha’s historical poem, dealing as it docs, with the invasion of 
a Muslim adventurer, is an exception. The Jaina writers, however, are 
delightfully free from all linguistic restrictions. Their mission of approach- 
ing the masses through their own vernacular ind dialects, rendered it 
necessary for them to retain or insert local or Desya words, and their style was 
still further influenced by their extensive travels. Thus, their style is both 
ornate and homely — sometimes too much so ! The Gujarati of the Jaina 
Rasas and Prabandhas had always been too difiCcult for the Hindus, while 
the language of the Hindus had been too archaic for the Jainas. 

Difference in beliefs was thus supplemented by difference in language 
and there was a gulf%Ked between Jainas and Hindus to which the attitude of 
their writers, one to another, bears eloquent testimony. They simply ignore 
one another. For instance Sivadas and ^^abhadas who both wrote in the 
second half of the 17th century of the Vikrama Era from Cambay, were as 
much strangers to one another as though one hailed from Nandurbar and 
the other from Patan. or one from DwSrka and the other from Godhra ! 

Social and political conditions, also, effectually prevented a healthy 
amalgam ation of these two people and their literatures. Social and political 



conditions further served to keep them and therefore their literattures 
away from a healthy amalgamation. The Jaina Hindus were less affected by 
the political disturbances in the land than the Gujarati Hindus, as they 
could always find asylum at the various Upasrayas, and a feeling of religious 
brotherhood prevailed among the Yatis of different Gacchas. The Hindus 
had, on the other hand, scarcely a chance to foster and develop their literary 
life, and so it was that these two literary currents always flowed apart, 
neither of them enriching or being enriched by the other. 

Upto the 10th century of the Vikrama Era, the whole of India wrote 
and spoke in the Prakrts — Maharas^r! in the South, SaurasenI in the Central 
and the Western India, and Magadhi or Ardhamagadhi in the East, while 
Sanskft was the common literary language of India as a whole. I'here exist- 
ed, however, a stock of ideas common to all the province s of India, a survi- 
val of the time when all lived together as a single society, and had a common 

Thus each province had a sense of being linked up mentally with 
other provinces. Being free to draw upon and borrow from one another as 
much as they chose, their various cultures had features in common which 
aroused in them a most comforting sense of kinship one vith another, as can 
be seen from the writings of Gujarati Sanskrt poets like BhattI (700 A. D. 
and Magha (circa 800 A. D.), who wrote for the whole of India and not only 
for their own immediate circle or province. Hcmacandra, too, wrote for 
the whole of India. 

Gujarat! is a mixed language, part Prakrtic and part Sansk^'tic. The 
Prakjrt and Desya words generally express simple facts and obvious feelings, 
while the Sanskf t words crept in in a later and more reflective age, and were 
used to express the shades and subtleties of thought and emotion. The 
Ki^atrapas and the Gurjaras brought a non-Sanskrt language and non- Aryan 
ideas to Gujarat centuries ago; but traces of the Aryan invasion and occupa- 
tion still remained in the land to be supplemented later by Muslim in- 
fluences. The Buddhistic rule of Candragupta and Asoka in the 3rd century 
B. C., and the activities of missionaries headed by Dh4rmarak§ita, a Yavana, 
introduced further novel elements into .the social, political, intellectual, 
spiritual and therefore linguistic development of Gujarat. 

Then came the Western Ksatrapas and their Hinduised followers, to 
be followed by the cultiural invasion of the Gurjaras and their various 
branches of Rajaputs — from Kanauj and Bhinmal — a section of whom founded 
Anhilwad, after the fall of Valabhipur and Pafleasar. Both of these brought 
with them a non-Sanskpt language and non-Aryan ideas; but traces of the 



Aryan invasion and occupation still remained in the land, to be suiqpl<Hnented 
later by Muslim influences. 

Gujarati literature under the later Anhilwad kings went back to 
Sanskirt traditions of measure and form, but Sanskrt was not the only lang- 
uage favoured by the SolankI patrons of literature. Praki't, and especially 
the Apabhraihsa, won a sure recognition through the advocacy of Jaina 
scholars who found it a most valuable medium of expression. 

The description of the * Rajasabha ’ by Rajasekhara, who flourished at 
the beginning of the lOth century A. D., in his “Kavyamimamsa” (G. O. 
Series No. I) will not be out of place here. He writes : "On the northern 
side of the Rajasabha should be seated Sanski't poets, and behind them 
Vaidikas, Logicians, Pauranikas, Smartas, Physicians, Astrologers and such 
others; on eastern side the Prakft poets, and behind them the actors, dancers, 
singers, musicians, and bards and such others; on the western side the verna- 
cular poets and behind them painters, jewel-setters, jewellers, goldsmiths, 
carpenters, blacksmiths and such others; on the southern side Paisaca poets, 
and behind them paramours and courtezans, rope-dancers, jugglers, 
wrestlers and professional soldiers." (pp. 54-55). 

Later on, however, it became clear that the Gujaratis had a preference 
for their vcrnacular-Apabhraihsa. Rajasekhara says that the people of La^a, 
i. e., Gujarat, south of the Mah! up to the Tapti in the south, were decidedly 
for Prakrt, and actually disliked Sanskrt'; and Bhoja Deva confirms this.* 
The men of Saura?tra, too. were not above interspersing their speech with 
Apabhraihsa. The Gujarati poets, both Jaina and non-Jaina, had a decided 
partiality for the vernacular, i. e., the later variety of Apabhraihsa as could 
be seen from side-remarks that their poems. 

Samala Bhatta has given a regular discourse on the respective merits 
of Sanskrt and Prakft, meaning thereby the vernacular of the land : “Sanskrt” 
says he, “ is like paddy which must be pounded before it can be 

eaten; for, it is difficult to understand and appreciate; whereas Prakrt is like 

1 . ‘ (v. 1. ir«w) sRf: i 

fstiRT ii ’ 

also ‘ ®rsl«r; i ’ 

2. ‘ g^tr. i ’ 




rice ready from the granary, which can be cooked direct. Sanskft is like a gdd 
coin, not easily exchanged in the money-market; Prakft is like a copper- 
piece, which finds ready acceptance everywhere. Prak]:t is the language of 
the bazar, of the accountants of the schools and of the common people. With- 
out it, social intercourse is impossible. Local vernaculars and currencies 
may not be of much use to aliens, but they are most useful and important 
to the natives. One Jaina poet has emphasised the sweetness of Prikft.* 

Akho Bhakta is partial to the vernacular as being the best vehicle of 
thought and speech; and there is no doubt that Gujarati was the language 
of the masses, whereas Sanskrt was favoured only by the select few.' 

Gujarati may be regarded as one of the Rajasthan-group of dialects 
influenced somewhat by the speech of the Gurjaras in 500 A. D., later on 
modified by the Sauraseni speech of Central India. The Western or Marwari 
form of Rajasthani is really the immediate sister of Gujarati, for it has been 
found that Western Rajasthani and Gujarati derive from the same source- 
dialect, which has been called “ Old Western Rajasthani 

This Old Western Rajasthani has quite a respectable literature of its 
own, mostly Jaina, dating from before the 14th century to the end of the 15th. 
Gujarati must have been born in the 16th century (Vikrama Era) and is 
now spoken by over 20 millions. The iSauraseni Praki-t and Sauraseni 

3. “ yttW ^ «t araia : 

uuct ut5» Twr, ff? =aaia, asspr. ' 

daRpll, afer sr <11^: 

jni«T %f5rr, artarc 

aFira^i, aaar are: 
jniifr ftai are ? 

aiaalaral : 

fira a^, a^f «i4. " 

— (c d to®v), a. ar. at., am 

4. “^415 sniCT Ik, 1 ” *. 

— aaKream (%. »^?»). 

5 . “«?faat g ar41 ag ?, aiffiaf g aRll *ig : 

—a#, *am w*. 

6. Vide Dr. Tessitori’s article, in Indian Antiquary, 1914*1916. 


ApabhramSa has already modified the original Indo-Aryan dialects spificen 
in Rajaputana and Gujarat, as can be seen from extant literature. 

The Apabhrathsa verses quoted in the Prak^t Grammar of Hemacan* 
dra are in*a dauraseni dialect, which had already become archaic in his time 
— «n earlier phase of Old Western Rajasthani. The Prakrta>Paifigala (14th 
century), a treatise on Apabhrathki versification, gives in illustration of the 
metrical rules a number of poems and couplets, most of which are in the 
artificial literary Western Apabhramsa, based on earlier literary Sauraseni. 

Jacobi produces evidence from literature and epigraphy, from Bhama- 
ha and Dapdi>^i nnd from the inscription of King Dharasena of Valabhl to 
show that some form of speech called Apabhramsa was used for literary 
purposes as early as the 6th century A. D. The term ‘Apabhramsa* origi- 
nally had no special significance, and merely meant “ speech fallen off (from 
the norm) , vulgar speech 

It was regarded with contempt by savants like Narasimha Mehtg', 
Premananda, Samala, Akho and others. It came, however, to be employed 
by the masses for their songs and couplets; and, with the growth of popular 
literature, came to win recognition from scholars as well. Hemacandra, 
evidently following tradition, called this late and literary form of Middle 
Indo-Aryan as ‘ Apabhramsa None but the Indo-Aryan dialects spoken in 
Gujarat, Rajaputana and Central India are so fortunate as to retain traces 
of the Apabhramsa stage, — the stage between the Prakrts of the dramas and 
the modern regional languages. 

A kind of Sauraseni Apabhramsa was a sort of literary speech for 
Northern India in the closing centuries of the 1st millennium A. D., and for 
some centuries to follow. The power and prestige of the Rajaput courts, 
which had their centres in Central India and the Ganges valley, were re.cpon- 
sible for this. The Jainas of Gujarat cultivated it a great deal; and often it 
became a mixed dialect. Nagara Apabhramsa, also cultivated by the Jainas, 
is probably based on the late Middle Indo-Aryan source dialects of Rajastha- 
ni and Gujarati, strongly tinged with Sauraseni. There were similar foims 
of Apabhramsa derivetl from the Prakfts. Possibly Sauraseni was the polite 
lang uage of the day when people employed a regional language. 

Political and social conditions have made Gujarati the language of the 
province, although there are dialects enough. From the times of the Solankis 

“ 3ITOB tig # ? 

— ^ sRfsf^) 

7 . 


the greater part of Gujarat and Saura^tfa formed portions of the central 
kingdom. Lafa, Sora^h and Gujarat, however, were still separate provinces 
of the kingdom, brought together under the political power in the 12 tfa cen- 
tury. The Brahmanas, who had settled in the country very early in the 
history of Aryan Gujarat, had first established themselves in Northern 
Gujarat, at Anandapura, and in the Western part of the peninsula during the 
glorious days of Valabhipura, Bhinmal and Prabhasa, and thence spread to 
Southern Gujarat and all over India. They were a separate social unit. 

Had there not been some sort of political union under the Muslim rule 
from Naharvala, just when the foimdations of the Gujarati language were 
laid, had there not been a well-organised Brahmana community all over 
Gujarat, and had the Kayasthas not participated in their efforts, the evolu- 
tion of a common nationality and a common culture and literature amongst 
such a heterogeneous people would have been well-nigh impossible. There 
would then have been, linguistically and culturally, three self-contained and 
independent Gujarats : Kathiawad or Sorath, North Gujarat and Southern 
Gujarat, or Lata — the last two divided by the river Mahi. 

Saura§iti^d Gujarat are thus split into two tracts. But the absence 
of political union and a common intellectual aristocracy are among the 
reasons why the very slight dialectical differences between Kathiawadi- 
Gujarati and Tala-Gujarati have not been bridged over by a common literary 
speech; and the two peoples speaking these dialects united into one. Besides 
its standard form in which literature is composed, Gujarati has several 
dialects which are only spoken forms of speech, though almost universally 
current among the masses of Gujarat. They are the KathiawadI, the Kacchi, 
the Pattaul or North Gujarati, the Carotari or middle Gujarati, and the Suratl 
or South Gujarati. The Bhils, on the eastern border, speak their own dialect 
— the Bhilll, which bears a close affinity to Gujarati. Some of these dialects 
are given a place in modern Gujarati creative literature — particularly in the 
Short Story and Fiction — in order to impart local colour to the work. 

Of the extra-Gujarati dialects similar to Gujarati, namely, Marawadi 
and Marathi, it is the first which approaches Gujarati inmost closely. Mara- 
wadi and Gujarati scholars kept up an intimate intellectual communion for 
some centuries, but socially Marawadi Brahmanas and Gujarati Brahnianas 
formed distinct communities; and when at the end of the 16th century (1578 
A. D.; Samvat 1622) Akbar contracted the limits of the Subah of Gujarat, 
all communication ceased between Gujarat and Marwad, originally governed 
by a common political governor. 

The isolated peninsula of Saurai^tra, with her ancient culture, her 
contiguity to the sea-coast, her intercourse with foreign nations, and her 


openness to the cultural influences of foreign traders, would have drifted 
away from Gujarat and from the whole of India but for the shrine of D.wdra- 
kesa at Dwarka, which had always attracted Hindu pilgrims, and had thus 
become a sort of link between the heart of SaurS^tra and the people of 
Gujarat; while saint-poets like Narasimha Mehta brought them even closer 

The Vai^pava revivals under Vallabha and Swaminarayapa gave a 
further impetus to the social unity of the Gujaratis. They gave an exalted 
expression to religious impulses and emotions peculiar to the Gujarati alone, 
and considerably increased the stock of national literature. With the 
Muslim conquest tracts in the different parts of Western India, governed 
from Anhilwad, received the common name of Gujarat, which was merely 
an extension of the appellation for the people of Northern GujarSt or 
Southern Rajaputana. 

One feature of the Gujarati language, chiefly due to its double origin, 
is an abundance of apparent synonyms which on investigation are found to 
be distinguished from one another by fine shades of difference. Gujarati 
language and literature seem to have been formed by the mingling of four 
dialects : — the Brahmanic of the Brahmin settlers, the Carapic or Bardic of 
the martial races that came later on and settled there, the Jainic of the Jaina 
converts, who later on formed commercial communities, and the Persian of 
the Muslims, the whole mixed up with the miscellaneous speech of other 
foreigners, such as the Portuguese. There are, moreover, local or provincial 
idioms, so that each town, city, district and community retains a peculiarity 
of its own. Hence the proverb : “Speech changes with every twelve 

The Brahmin settlers brought their Sansk|'t and Sauraseni Prafcirt 
from the north. The Carapic stream of dialects and literature bears all the 
peculiarities of the Rajaput tongues of Rajaputana, Malwa and other tracts 
still further north, where it flowed unchecked. Bha^as, Caranas, and other 
martial or minstrel classes made poems and sang songs of heroism and 
chivalry, made chronicles and wrote annals in the Carapic dialect, which was 
universally understood and appreciated throughout the provinces of Gujarat, 
Rajaputana and Malwa. The Jainic stream has its source further east, in 
Magadhl, the sacred language of the Jainas; and the Jaina monks or Sadhus 
were the writers of liturgical, anti-Brahmanic and scientific works in the 
dialect. The last stream is fed by the /other races of Gujarat — ^the Parsis, 
the Khojas, the Memops and others. 

8 . 

’I?®?, ^ 



Of these four branches, the last three were the most conservative, 
being sectional and confined to their own channels, while the first, the main 
stream, which may be called Gujarati, is broader and deeper, being con* 
stantly in flow and overflow, overstepping its banks and borders, and ever 
advancing. Gujarati is thus a language of races that have gone the whole 
round of India before settling there. It had connections with sacred languages 
and literatures of the early Aryans, no less than with those of the later 
Brahmanas, Buddhists, Jainas, Muslims and Parsis. 

It clasps hands on the south with Marathi, on the east and north with 
Hindi, and on the west and north-west with Sindhi and Pimjabi. Situated 
as it is in the centre, the language and literature of Gujarati have absorbed 
the most admirable characteristics of its neighbours. It has a rare sweet- 
ness, tenderness, richness, and fineness." It does not sound masculine, like 
Hindi, or nasal, like Kanarese'" and other Dravidian vernaculars, nor has 
it the occasional harshness as of the Marathi palatals, nor the sometimes 
flat and sometimes round and hollow sound of the Bengali vowels. Its rich- 
ness is due to its catholicity. It has not disdained, when need arose, to 
borrow foreign words, both European and Asian.” 

It is not a sacred language, as Sanski't is of the Brahmins, Pali of the 
Buddhists, Magadhi of the Jainas or Hindi-Braja Bhasa of the Vai^navas; 
nor is it a political or court-language like Urdu or Marathi. It is pre-emi- 
nently a language of the people. 

The Gujarati language consists of four elements: (1) Tat-sama, (2) 
Tadbhava, (3) Desi, and (4) Videsi words. 

By ‘ tatsama ’ is meant only those words which are identical in form 
with Sanskrt. The ‘ tahdhava ’ element is the genuine folk or native element 
and stands for those words and forms which underwent a natural modifi- 

9. Dr. H. H. Dhruva’s paper at the International Oriental Congress, Stockholm, 
1889 (p. 72) : “Gujarati is a language of songs and poetry — the Italian of West- 
ern India. ” 

10. The Saurastra women, however, are said to have a somewhat nasal speech, 

and the is called 

‘‘w grO I *• 

— «nfoi^ 

11. “Owing to its maritime connections, the Gujarati language has borrowed 
occasional words from other parts of Asia and from Europe. This is specially 
marked in the changed Dialect of the Kathiawad boatmen, who travel all over 
the world as Lascars on the great steamships. Their language is a mixture of 
Uindustiini and Gujarati with a heterogeneous vocabulary .’’ — Encyclopaedia 
Brittanica, Vol. 10, (14th Edition), p. 980. 



cation through centuries of constant use. This is the very groundwork of 
the language, the ve ry beginning of the transformation of the original Aryan 
speech into a popular medium of expression. 

Side by side, with the 'tadbhava* element, forming, indeed, a part of it, 
is a class of words called ‘deit' by Prakft grammarians, obviously derived 
from the pre>Aryan languages of the country, Dravidian and Kola. These 
include all onomatopoetic and other words which could not be traced to 
Sanskft, either because their derivation happened to be obscure and not 
obviously traceable to Sanskrt, or because their equivalents were not used 
in Sanskft. Hemacandra’s De&indmamaW has scores of such ‘tadbhava 
deiV words. The true desi words are relics of the popular dialects 
which preceded Aryan speech, and hence aboriginal or ‘of the country*. 
In the Apabhrarh la period, ‘ desi* words are as much a native element in 
the speech as * tadbhava ’ words. 

The 'vtdeii* or Mlechha, i. e., foreign extra-Indian element is more 
or less ignored by the older grammarians, first, because the number of for- 
eign words was comparatively small, and secondly, because their origin was 
not always known. Yet words like (Latin Picus) cuckoo, (Latin 
Denarius) a gold coin, jpcq (Greek Drachme) a coin, were recognised as 
foreign in ancient times. From the beginning of the 5th century B. C. when 
the Persians ruled a part of North-Western India and Persia, there has 
been some sort of connection between India and Persia, sometimes intimate, 
sometimes distant. Each country influenced the other with the result 
that we have a number of Old and Middle Persian words in Indo-Aryan, 
down to the period of the Muslim (TurkI) invasions in the 10th century.'* 
After the establishment of Muslim rule in India by the Turks, the Tajiks 
and the Afghans, Persian was introduced into the country as the language 
of administration and as the cultural language of the Muslim courts; 
and the Indian vernaculars thus came in direct contact with Persian. 

Greek also influenced the language in the middle Indo-Aryan stage. 
Greek adventurers and oflScers in Persian service seem to have come to India 

• • 

12. The words ‘Mihira meaning Sun; ‘Maga’, a class of Brahmins, from the Indian 
‘Magus’, a priest of the Zoroastrian faith; 'Pusta’, meaning a book, from the 
Middle Persian ‘Posta’ meaning skin, skin for writing, etc., are instances in 

The word' Pothi’ (Iranian ‘Posta’, Sanskptised to ‘Pusta’, Pustikd; PrSkft 
‘Potthia’ means a book, a MS. in the old lAdian style. The word ‘ Moci’ is from 
Mid-Persian Mocaka, meaning shoe, or boot. The word ‘ Sikkah’ of the middle 
Persian is said to have been borrowed from the Aramaic ‘ Sykt ’ i. e. ‘ die for 
joining ’, which Later Persian introduced into India as the word ‘Sikkah’, a 
coined rupee. 



. even before Alexander’s advent in 327 B. C. Intimate relations between 
Greeks and Indians began to be established in the next century, and con- 
tinued down to the end of 3rd century A. D. The Greek settlers in India, 
however, were rapidly Hinduised and absorbed. This contact gave a 
number of Indian words to the Greek language, and a number of Greek 
words to Sanskrt and the vernaculars. Modern vernaculars have thus in- 
herited a number of Persian and Greek words. The word ‘Dam’, meaning 
price, and ‘ DamadI’, equal to a small copper piece, have come from Greek. 
The word ‘Suranga’, meaning tunnel, has come from the Greek ‘Surink’ 
(syrinx) and so on. 

The influence of Persian on Gujarati speech and literature began to 
manifest itself in the beginning of the 14th centiiry. The first Muslim con- 
querors of Gujarat (not counting the Arab episode in Sindh and in Valabhi- 
pura in the late 8th century) were Turks,'* and not Afghans or Pathans. 
Under the Turk! and Afghan rulers, the administration of Gujarat was 
left mainly in the hands of Hindu feudatories; and, in the ordinary way, but 
little influence could be exerted on the life and language of the people from 
the Muslim court at Ahmedabad. 

Those of the people, however, that accepted State employment had 
naturally to study the language of the Ruler, and those who were not State 
employees could not escape its prevailing influence. Thus, to illustrate from 
Gujarati literature, as early as A. D. 1398, we find a liberal use of Persian 
words, in a poem called ‘ Rana Malta Chanda ’ written by Srldhara Vyasa, 
describing the defeat of Zafar Khan, the Subedar of Patan. The terms re- 
late to Military and Administrative affairs, and their use is so natural and 
in place as to show that they must have been adopted into the language so 
long before, as to have become a part of it. 

Another poem, called ‘Kanhadde Prahandha\ written soon after (A.D. 
1456), describing another Military event at Jhalor, partakes of the same 
characteristic ; and ;Samalabhatta, who followed later, though a writer of 
stories bearing on the domestic and social life of Gujarat, displays in his 
poems a large admixture of Persian words, testifying to^the fact that the terms 
had penetrated much farther than administrative ofiices, and were being used 
to describe incidents of their inner life. By the time of Premananda, their 
novelty had passed off and they had become an integral part of the language. 

In Gujarat, Persian really began to make itself felt only in the times of 
the Mughals, i. e., from the last quarter of the 16th century. The Turk! and 

13. Turk! words like sfill, ‘swat, ?IIW, g«l» are completely natur. 

Used in Gujargti. 



Other foreign Muslim rulers who settled in Gujar&t, themselves fell under the. 
influence of their subjects; but this contact certainly brought a number of 
Arabic and Persian words into Gujarati during the early period of Muslim 
rule. The Sultan’s Durbar at Ahmedabad became, in many ways, a model 
for the petty chiefs of Gujarlt. 

The introduction of Persian as Court-language, and the using of it for 
all official records, at the instance of Raja To^armal under Akbar, brought 
a still greater influx of Persian terms connected with justice, revenue and 
general administration into the Gujarati vocabulary; and the niunber of 
such words, even now in use in Gujarati, is quite a large one. Constant 
fighting in Gujarat brought in a number of Persian military terms, such as 
arrow, bow, ^ execution, fort, battlement or tower, 
army, victory, intrenchment, etc. 

Persian as the cultural and administrative language of the Muslim 
rulers came to be studied by some Hindus in Gujarat, and in the 18th 
century it became as common as English is to-day. Brahmin and Kayastha 
Munshis taught Persian to sons of rich people, and there were ‘maktabs’ 
and * madrasahs ’, frequented both by Hindus and Musalmans. A direct and 
more intimate connection was established between the capital cities of Delhi 
and Agra and the distant Subah of Gujarat. The average Gujarati came in 
greater touch with the administrative machinery than before. Gujaratis 
found a place in all the departments, executive, judicial, fiscal and military; 
and therefore they had to pay greater attention to the Persian language. 
Contact with men in the court of the Nazim (military officer) or Viceroy at 
Ahmedabad, the Fozdar at Junagadh, the Diwan (civil administrator) and 
other Hindu and Muslim officials, sent out from Delhi, brought a greater 
refinement, polish, breadth, openness of mind and astuteness to the middle 
class Gujarati. New things and ideas came freely to Gujarat, and for a 
time Gujarat became truly a province of the Delhi empire. 

The Mughal empire united all northern India; and the 17th century, 
which witnessed the;[;enitlkof the Mughal power, saw also the establishment 
of Hindustani as the lingua franca of India. In the 12th and 13th centmries 
India was the battle-ground of two peoples (Hindus and Turkis or Tajiks) 
with different sets of ideas. By 1605, when Akbar died, a synthesis had 
been effected, and there was born an Indo-Muslim culture of which Hindu- 
stani became the vehicle. It came to Gujarat, and more Persian words now 
began to be admitted through Hindustani into Gujarati and the other verna- 
culars. The result was, that towards the end of the 18th century, the speech 
of the higher class Gujaratis, even Hindus, was greatly Persianised, and 



Persian words admitted as Gujaratised words by most sections of the people, 
became parts of the vocabulary, together with a few Persian affixes which 
have become thoroughly naturalised. 

Of such words, the first in point of number are those relating to 
revenue, administration and law; the second to material culture, objects 
of luxury, the trades, arts and crafts : thirdly come words pertaining to 
kingly state, warfare and chase; and lastly religious words, naturalised and 
as understood by Hindus and others; and those dealing with intellectual 
culture — education, music, literature and general refinement. 

It became obligatory on an average man to be fairly acquainted with 
foreign words, and there arose a necessity for explaining them through a 
lingua media like Sansk^, in order that they might be understood by people 
all over India. These were the small compendiums of Parasl words with 
Sanskft equivalents. The system of classification adopted in these is sug- 
gestive of the different walks of life through which these words came to be 
adopted. To students of social science and linguistics, these ‘Kosas’ provide 
very valuable material. 

The oldest attempt that has been traced in this direction is the work 
called 'Yavana-Ndma-Mala’ OT ' Sahda-Vilasa*, as it is variously known. It is 
composed by one Salaksa Mantr! from Western India. The apology offered 
for this composition is that ‘ the knowledge of many languages will help at 
royal courts in expounding points on astrology, and is thus bound to be 
appreciated, even though some purists may not like the idea of acquainting 
them with such foreign words’. The next is the ‘ Parasika-Bhdsa-anusasanam ’ 
or the ‘ Pdram-Ndma-Mdld’ by one Thakkur Vikrama Simha, also from 
Western India, born in the Pragvata vaihsa.' 

The ‘Pdrst-Prafcdsa’ was composed by one Bihar! Kr^nadasa, under 
the patronage of Emperor Akbar (A. D. 1556-1605), with the express desire of 
providing a boat, as it were, to enable to swim deep in the wide ocean of 
Persian words. 

The fourth named ‘Pdrasi-Prakdsa’ or ^ Sf^nskfl-Pdrasi Bhdsaracand’ 
is composed by an astrologer Maljit, son of Tiggala Bhatta, a resident of 
Sristhala (Siddhapura) in North Gujarat, who was patronised and given the 
title of ‘ Vedahgaraya ’ (the King of Astrology) by Emperor Shah Jahan in 
appreciation of his knowledge of Jyoti^a. It was composed in A. D. 1643 and 
was designed to explain through Sanskrt, Persian astrological and other 
technical terms in connection with the Phalddesa or the foretelling of the 
results of the positions of the stars and planets in a man’s life. ‘Rdja-vyava- 
hdra-Kosa* was compiled at the court of Sivaji by Pandit Dhundiraja at the 



instance of minister Raghunath in 1671 A. D. with a desire to eliminate the 
great influx of Persian words in the regional language. 

The other foreign elements in the Gujarati language consist of some 
words from Portuguese, a few from Dutch or French, and now an ever-in- 
creasing number of English words. Gujarat had, from a very early date, 
come into contact with the Portug^uese. It is not generally known that it 
was a Gujarati Muslim of Cambay, by name Davana, 'Who met Vasco de 
Gama’s fleet on the Mozambique coast, and furnished the great navigator 
with detailed information regarding the riches of his country, the best possi- 
bilities of trade it offered, and the power of its sovereign. Surat, Broach and 
Cambay were not known to Portugese shipping. Daman and Diu, the only 
two landmarks of their former influence in these parts, which, till last jrear, 
belonged to them, have Gujarat! for their vernacular. 

The names of the flora and fauna, brought mostly from South Ame- 
rica, which the Portuguese introduced into India, were adopted by almost all 
the Indian languages. Many articles which were in use among Europeans 
were introduced for the first time into India, and the names of these were 
borrowed by the people when they learnt to appreciate their usefulness. 
Ecclesiastical and nautical terms were borrowed from the Portuguese by 
the Gujaratis, the latter of which can be found in Marathi, Gujarati, Kana- 
rese and Hindustani as well. But the largest number of words thus natura- 
lised have reference to domestic and social life, as for instance : 
(pickle), (Biscoito); (Cimesa), (Estirar), (Sorie),and 

several others. The Portuguese, obviously not indifferent to the joys of 
good living, brought into Gujarat many a term attesting their skill in confec- 
tionery and preserve-making; they were the first to introduce European 
culinary art into India; their influence in the sphere of dress and clothing is 
not inconsiderable.” 

II. Literature 

The literature embodied in the language of any nation is one of the 
moulds of its life, and of the influences which shape its development. It 
flows into the national genius and affects its substance. The reverse is also 
in some measure true; the literature takes the colour and expresses the 
temper of social life. But there are poets and men of letters who seem 

14. For a detailed comparative table of words from the Portuguese, showing their 
translation in the different vernaculars, see the late Prof. A. X. Soares’ article 
on the ‘Portuguese Heritage to the East' in J. B. B. R. A. S., Vol. XXVI (1919). 

Also, see his posthumous publication '‘Portuguese Vocables in Asiatic 
Languages” (G. O. Series No. 74, 1936). 



independent of any country and any age. Rising from original springs of 
inspiration which seem to flow outside space and time, certain authors like 
Narasimha, MirS and Dayaram— mostly writers of devotional songs and 
outpourings of the heart, impatient to have the vision of their revered God- 
have none the less flowed into the current of the national tradition; and little 
as they seem to be affected by it, it has certainly been affected and influ* 
enced by them. 

It is no easy task to express in just a phrase the general spirit of 
Gujarati literature upto the end of the mediaeval period, spreading over 
more than eight centuries, both because its volume is so large, and its 
writers so vario\is; but we may put it that a predominance of ethical interest, 
and an absorption in character and its development characterise most of the 
writers. There are few GujarSti men of letters of whom we can say that 
they were simply dominated by the artistic impulse. Of non-Jaina authors 
Bhalan and Premanand, and Lavanyasamaya, R^bhadas and Samayasundar 
from amongst the Jainas, were great artists, undoubtedly; but they did follow 
the contemporary social and religious currents of their times, and try to be 
torch-bearers to their country men. They may not, indeed, have cherished, 
consciously and deliberately, such a purpose; but their gifts of imagination 
and expression lifted them high in the sight of men. The influence they 
wielded over their contemporaries had a great hand in shaping the national 
character and, therefore, the national history. Through metrical romance, 
legend, chronicle, ballad and song, they taught lessons that profoundly af- 
fected the social life of their times; and the characters they created became 
more real to the people than their own kings as described in histories," and 
were held up as models before the admiring gaze of the multitude. 

In another and a simple way the literature of a country may become 
a general influence by means of the view which it gives and the picture it 
draws, of the progress of social history and the character of social life. The 
view of national history which is enshrined in chronicle or drama, in legen- 
dary cycles or in bardic chronicles, becomes, in proportion to the vogue 
which it attains, a force in the further shaping 'of ndi:ional history. In this 
sphere the legendary figure may be greater than the historical : Vikrama 
and Salivahana outshine Bhoja and Siddharaja, and some legendary outlaw 
of Sorath matter more than the greatest of the Solankis. Literature, which 
is purely imaginative, as are the metrical romances, may be equally an in- 

15. The ‘Vikrama cycle’ of stories, in some of the Jaina writings, as well as in 
SSmalbhatt’s fascinating tales, are great social inflpepces ip Gujarat, even if 
they are not historical documents. 



fluence with literature, which deals with legend or history. Ihe great 
imaginary figures thrown on the screen by the Bomance>writers, Puri^fiias 
or Ma^abhattas may catch the imagination to which they are presented; and 
seizing and acting on what is presented, men may unconsciously ccmform 
themselves to the image of an image. The heroes and heroines of Gujarati 
metrical romances, and epic and PaurSnic personages garbed up like men 
and women of their own times, presented so many types of hiunan beings to 
the society in Gujarat which were held up as models conveying suggestion 
to the general instinct of imitation; making as it were “all the world a stage”, 
and every man “a player of many parts”. 

Literature may also influence social life through the magic words and 
phrases with which it stirs the mind and by which it moves the imagination. 
In Gujarat proverbs, couplets, and religious catchwords gathered around 
themselves a host of glittering associations, becoming more and more potent 
with frequency of use and the passage of time. Lines from Narasimha, 
Mira, Akho, Samal and other popular and epigrammatic poets; couplets from 
saints like Kabir and Tulsidas, lyrics and single lines from Premananda 
and Dayaram; and “Bhajanas, Kafis, Cabkhas, Pada, Dohara, or Sakhi from 
lesser poets like Dhiro, Bhojo, Pritam, etc., have grown to be parts of the 
every-day speech of the women and villagers of Gujarat, and have achieved 
the currency of proverbs, differing from mere proverbs in this, however, that 
proverbs are, at best, but expressions of a rough country- wisdom or the 
smartness of market-places, and very often point half-truths; whereas these 
great passages from literature, thus preserved and handed down from genera- 
tion to generation, permeated the whole of Gujarati society filtering doira 
to its lowest crusts, and sweating and purifying the springs of the social 
life of the people. 

Literature is art when it is imaginative, as it is thought when it is 
reflective or philosophic; but mostly it is really both together. Art is the 
expression of Thought; and Thought, to be effective, must be clothed in 
some form of Art. Gujarati literature, both Jaina and non-Jaina, deals with 
practical life, and is more philosophic than purely artistic, unlike Hindi 
literature, where as a role, Alahkara, Riti and Metre were the primary con- 
siderations. It seeks to console and inspire, to calm the turbulent passions 
of those who hear it sung or recited. That is why the style of Dest sanpfhi 
—vernacular music and diction— predominated in the Gujar&ti HSsas, 
Prabandhas and Akhyanas during the period under consideration. 

16. Bhajanas (prayers); Kd/i» (form of a 14-line stanza used by bhakta Dhiro); 
Cabakhis (trenchant sayings resembling lashes, used by Bhojo); Pada 
(a lyric); Dohard or Sakhi (self-contained couplets). 



The general trend of Gujarati literature up to the end of the mediaeval 
period was thus largely' objective and universal, rather than subjective and 
individualistic. Writers wrote for the people; and the occasional changes 
made in the last stanzas of many songs and prayers — generally known as 
the ‘Chapa’ of the poem, — ^by imassuming and innocent people prove that 
they were regarded as public property and handled as such. Of course”, 
this has given rise to deplorable confusion in many cases in the poems of old 
poets like Narasimha, Mira and others, for instance, although done by the 
scribes in quite good faith. However, that cannot be helped. Social prob- 
lems received a good deal of attention also;"* and a definite moral purpose 
underlies the Jaina Rasas and Akhyanas of Premananda, such as the 
Naldkhyana for example. 

Several themes recur in the literature of both the religious sects of 
Gujarat and most particularly in the Akhyanas and the Rasas, which have 
achieved a wide popularity with the masses. Of these, the Paurapic and 
mythological theme — realistic and romantic, legendary and historical, social 
and devotional — has again and again caught the imagination of our writers 
and they have sought to invest the memory of the past with beauty which 
would help to make it an inspiration in the present. 

Another recurrent and popular theme is religion; and poets, no less 
than preachers, have delighted in playing the Messenger of the Spirit to 
unawakened multitudes. Religion inspired much of the Pauranic and epic 
literature in Sansk^t, and this was now reproduced, with varying skill and 
appeal in the vernacular of the masses. Both before and after the Vaispa- 
vite revival, writers sought that very fountain of inspiration at which the 
old classical writers in Sanskrt had elated their thirst. On the one hand, 
there are the episodes from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and other 
Purapas, and on the other, there are the great hymns of Narasimha, Mira, 
Vallabhabhatt, Pritam, Bhojo, Dhlro, Brahmananda and Dayaram. Perhaps, 
no part of our literature has been more potent, more influential than this. 

There is another literature also which though inspired by Religion 
lies outside the range of the Pauranic Renaissance 6r Vai§navite revival. 
These are the great mystic poets of devout life, haters of all unreality — 
Mapdana, Akho, Niranta and others. And there are the writers of 

17. An example of this is to be found in SaraavaUcandra, Part IV, a novel by G. M. 

Tripathi, where one of his characters Kusuma, singing a popular song of 
Mirabai’s, changes the ‘ chapa ’ as in ‘ fgn Bl*! ! 31 ? sgJRr ^ 

instead of ‘ 41n RfiR ^ ’ 

18. See, the romantic stories of SamalbhaU* 


allegories— Jayasekharasuri, author of “Prabodha Cintanuu^”; Premfinaada, 
author of “ Viveka Vai^azSro”; Jivaram, author of the “Voyage of Jivurfija 
Seth ’—the Gujarati ‘ Pilgrims’ Progress’ : these form a class by themselves. 

And now we come to another, a rather insignificant element in Guja- 
rSt! literature — a pessimism, or a sort of vague fatalism, in which the mind 
sought consolation and took refuge from the various political and religious 
vicissitudes arising from the vagaries of an apathetic and capricious Govern* 
ment. There being no security of person or property to be found in this 
world, the people very naturally turned their eyes to another. The * Udya- 
ma Karma Sarhvada ’, a dialogue between Action and Fate, by Samalbhatt, 
is a conspicuous example of the general mentality of the people. It teaches 
by a method of induction, that men must face facts; that they must be honest 
with life and their own hearts; that even when they grieve they must yet 
endure and conquer. This is the teaching of one of the most characteristic 
and recurrent themes of our literature. 

It is this so-called pessimism which evoked from the Bhagat-poet 
Bhojo the words ‘ JIlfSniT ! 3=11 ^ If ^ I ’ ‘ Oh my soul ! 

worship the Creator, for life is but a dream ! ’ A writer of to-day is so struck 
with this phase of medieval Gujarati literature, that he tends to lose sight of 
other gentler phases, and affirms that this persistent speculation regarding 
the nothingness of the world and its belongings, and this pseudo-spirit 
of renunciation sapped the finer sentiments of the people ; and it was the 
modem age, with its literature, shaped by the influences of Western 
and other literatures, that was the first to be roused to a sense of the 
real enjoyment of life.” Literature, however, is designed to suit all minds in 
all their various phases of development, and we can hardly blame those poets 
who serve society by supplying the emptional or spiritual needs of a particular 
section of human beings. Each type of literature has its own value and appeal. 

Over and above the pseudo-religious love-songs written by poets 
aroimd the names of Kr^na and Radha or the Gopis, there exists a distinct 
kind of literature which is predominantly romantic, not to say erotic. It is 
significant that in some of these love-poeihs even the ordinary rule of invok- 
ing the help of Sarasvati and Ganesa in the maiigaldcarana has been disre- 
garded, and the first and foremost deity to be reverenced and greeted is the 
God of Love himself ! In ‘Madhavdnala Kdmakandald’ of Gapapati (Samvat 
1584), the author begins with a salute to the son of Rukmini and the husband 

19. I mean Sjt. K. M. Munshi’s lecture on im m : GBRl’. The reader 

is referred to the answer to this lecture by Principal Anandaiankar Dhruva. in 
the columns of Vasanta (1926) under the title sftqspST SSHH’. 



of Rati, the great hero Madana, whose feet he warships.** We can well 
imagine the kind of story that would be ushered in by such a prologue. 
The ‘Bilhana Pancdsikd*—a poem based on a Sanskft poem of the same 
name, by one Jhanacarya, provides another instance of this kind of 
inversion. Here, too, the first place is assigned to Kandarpa — ^god of Love— 
and only the second to the goddess Sarasvati. 

Hindu literature in the first three hundred years of the second millen- 
nium, when Hindus ruled in Gujarat, was almost entirely in Old Gujarati or 
Later Apabhramsa, and its subject-matter mostly Jaina theology. The illus- 
trations given in the Prakyt grammar of Hemacandra, some in heroic strain, 
others dealing with secular and non-Jaina themes, are our earliest samples 
of Gujarati poetry. The innumerable Rasas and Prahandhas of Jaina- 
teachers date from this period. These Rasas, i. e., stories or romances with a 
moral, usually extolling the Jaina faith, are most interesting, both for their 
beauty of style and the very vivid pictures they draw of the manners and 
customs of the age. 

These Jaina writings are specially renuirkable in that the authors kept 
to vernacular of the masses, sometimes even utilising local tunes and folk- 
songs — the *Desls' and the ‘Dkolas*. Researches in the mass-music — the ^5fts 
of Gujarat, and how they were used by writers in longer narratives — ^the 
mythological poems known as ‘ Akhyanas’ — would prove both profitable and 
interesting. It would help to establish the debt we owe to the source-dialect 
— Old Western Rajasthani, since Marwadi tunes crept into both the 
marriage-songs and the Akhyana poetry of the Gujaratis. The Jaina writers 
usually quote the first lines of the original songs whose tunes they may have 
adopted for their purposes. The varying Ddiis of different provinces have 
special names of their own : viz. ‘Maru’ from Marwar, ‘ Godi ’ from Gauda- 
Bengal, ‘ Veradi ’ from Berar, ‘ Gurjari ’ from Gujarat (in the Punjab), and 
so forth. The ‘Glta-Gouindo’ of Jayadeva— believed by some to have been 
originally composed in Praktl; Prabandhas and afterwards dubbed in 
Sanskrt, — utilises the ‘ Desi ’ prabandha for a classical theme.® 

20. “ wi JtR I " ■ 

sr«w ^ sre srnm ii ” 

21. “ I ^ ajffsr n 

w § smaft i fnOtoit hO i 
^ i jw arfirutr ti ” 

22. Sarfigadeva of the 13th century A.D. in his ‘Sanglta Ratnakara' has defined 
^DesV as follows;— 

gw ^ qra ii 



Much of the bardic and folk-literature of Sorath can be traced to this 
early period, its gradual growth corresponding to the change of political 
conditions in the peninsula. Sauri^fra has always been the land of chivalry 
and romance. Tales of love and truth and chivalry, of devotion and loyalty 
of devotees and saints have been preserved to this day not as written record, 
but by oral tradition. This indigenous ballad literature peculiar to Kathia- 
wa^ is remarkable in two ways : It is in couplets, and in the strange- 
sounding, racy dialect of that province. The stray Doh&s are as beads in a 
rosary strung together by a thread of prose which is supplied by the 
narrator. Occasionally a whole incident hinges on a couplet or two, which 
are epigrammatic, and highly condensed in thought. The other arresting 
feature of this popular literature is the glimpses it gives of the social life of 
the people of the province, wild, romantic and chivalrous. Hence, quite 
apart from their linguistic value, these folksongs, fairy-tales, riddles and 
proverbs help to throw a good deal of light upon the ancient traditions, 
manners and customs of the people of Sorath in particular, and of Gujarat 
in general. This is the Balladic literature— in old Gujarati or Antima 
Apabhraihsa — which has never waned in popularity, and has retained its 
characteristics even up to the last century. This is now known vaguely as 
‘ Folk-Literature ’. 

The poets of Gujarat had as hard a time as their 'country, and their 
themes therefore were somewhat limited. But their poetry is none the less 
real poetry. The Muslim Sultans who came to rule in this part of India did 
not withhold political advancement from individual Hindu subjects; but it 
was by no means free for all Hindus. There were but few powerful Rajaputs 
who could patronise the poetry of chivalry and war; so the Hindus were con- 
fined to their homes and the industries. Agriculture was practised, as at 
present, by certain illiterate classes, who had to labour in the midst of robbery 
and ofBcial oppression, from which neither the Sultans nor the Imperial 
Viceroys could save them. 

Poetry, the offgpring;of leisure, was thus banished to the domestic 
hearths of the home-keeping people, to temples, towns and villages. The 
Marathas succeeded the Muslims, and their rule was not more conducive to 
open-air poetry than that of their predecessors. But outside those cities and 
towns which had become centres of political activity and intrigue, there was 
the large mofussU, and this was not touched, except for the collection of 
revenue. Here, left to themselves, the landlords and merchants, albeit them- 
selves illiterate and unable to sing, formed a great market where a demand 

for poetry of some kind could be created; for they had an inherent love for 




poetry, and the wherewithal to indulge it. and men were not wanting who 
could elevate and satisfy their souls. Women, too, would listen to the songs, 
and, wherever possible, join in the singing as did Miri, Indr&vat!, JanibSi, 
Divalibil, GauribS! and Puribal. 

The soil of Gujarat is peculiarly suitable for the growth of religious 
ideals; for, the people of the areas are very simple, credulous and God-fear- 
ing. They revered and delighted in the Sadhus, Veragis or Mahantas who 
occasionally founded local temples and whose sanctity or occult powers 
arrested their attention and infused sweetness, novelty and devotion in their 
uneventful lives. Moreover, people took refuge in religion from troubles 
arising from the endless raids and invasions of foreign adventurers. The 
constant emigrations of the Rajaputs and other political classes left a residue 
of peaceful and home-keeping people, who had no means of resisting 
oppression and anarchy, save with the weapon of religion alone. Their 
hearts, therefore, turned eagerly to all that had power to soothe, console o